GWADAR: China handed over two ships to the Pakistan Navy here on Saturday for joint security along the sea route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Recently built in China and equipped with state-of-the-art guns, the ships will be part of the navy.
Chinese officials, who reached Gwadar aboard the ships, handed them over to their Pakistani counterparts at a ceremony at the Gwadar port. Commander of the Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini received the ships which have been named after two nearby rivers Hingol and Basol.
Director General of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Rear Admiral Jamil Akhter, Commander West Commodore Mohammad Waris and top naval and civilian officials were present on the occasion.
“The Chinese ships have become part of the Pakistan Navy from today,” Vice Admiral Hussaini said, adding that the navy would become stronger with the induction of the ships.
The Chinese government will provide two more ships namely Dasht and Zhob to the navy. Work on the ships is in progress in China and will be completed soon.
China is extending help and cooperation to Pakistan for security along the CPEC’s land and sea routes.
Pakistan has already raised a new division of the army to ensure security along the CPEC route and in and around the Gwadar port. Security of Gwadar city has been handed over to the army’s new division raised during the tenure of former chief of army staff retired Gen Raheel Sharif. Speaking at the ships handover ceremony, Vice Admiral Hussaini said that the economic corridor was a reality. It would prove to be a game-changer for Pakistan and China, and the entire region would benefit from it.
“The CPEC will open new vistas of speedy development in Balochistan and create thousands of jobs for its youths,” he said.
He termed the induction of the Chinese ships into the Pakistan Navy a historic moment and said that the ships would be deployed for the security of the Gwadar port and the sea route of the CPEC.
Vice Admiral Hussaini said: “It is a great day for Pakistan and its people as such kind of ships have been inducted in the navy for the first time.”
With the passage of time, he said, Pakistan-China friendship was becoming stronger and deeper than the ocean.
He said that the navy and Gwadar had historic relations as the navy had arrived in the town when it was merged with Pakistan.
It was a matter of happiness that the Baloch youth were joining the navy to serve Pakistan and its people, he added.
The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency has clarified a report published in Dawn’s Sunday issue under the headline, “Two Chinese ships arrive for Gwadar port security”.
According to the agency, the two ships have not been provided exclusively for protection of the Gwadar port. “The ships will be employed in all maritime zones of Pakistan to undertake search and rescue operations,” the PMSA said.
The vessels were handed over to the agency in Guangzhou, China, and not at Gwadar (as stated in the Dawn report).
The headline of this story was changed following the clarification.
Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2017