TAXILA: Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah has said that the navy is ready to face challenges in the Indian Ocean after the completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment.

He was talking to newsmen at Cadet College Hasan Abdal on Saturday during the launch ceremony of Captain Asfandyar Ahmad Bokhari’s biography — “Marka-i-Badaber ka Hero (the Hero of Badaber Attack)”.

The late Captain Bokhari was a former cadet of the college, who laid down his life while leading the Quick Response Force in the PAF Camp Badaber operation in September 2015.

The naval chief said trade through the CPEC would place additional premium on Pakistan Navy to ensure uninterrupted maritime activities by protecting flow of maritime traffic and provision of security to sea lanes. A special task force with the title of “Task Force 88” was established to ensure maritime security of the CPEC and the force would protect the port from formal and informal threats, he added.

Admiral Zakaullah said “we are working on capacity-building of manpower and resources as well as collaboration with other countries for joint task forces as the CPEC will magnify the significance of Pakistan’s Navy jurisdiction”.

He said the life and personality of young Bokhari is a role model for the youth, especially those enrolled in military cadet colleges.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2017