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KARACHI: The PMSS Kashmir, the fifth maritime patrol vessel built in China for the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, was inducted into the PMSA’s fleet at a ceremony here on Friday.

During his welcome address, Director General of PMSA Rear Admiral Zaka-ur-Rehman said that it was in response to evolving maritime challenges, law-enforcement imperatives and national obligations that a capacity enhancement plan was proposed by the PMSA and subsequently approved by the federal government.

He said the induction of another state-of-the-art vessel into the PMSA fleet was of unique significance as it showed the agency’s commitment and resolve towards safeguarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and ensuring maritime security.

He said the PMSA was committed not only to enforcing national jurisdiction and sovereignty in the maritime zones but also protecting Pakistan’s economic interests in the Exclusive Economic Zone.

The PMSA DG said the PMSS Kashmir was a symbol of Pakistanis’ solidarity with the people of Kashmir. “It is a recognition of efforts of the people of Kashmir who are engaged in a heroic struggle and continue to offer supreme sacrifices for their right to self-determination in line with the UN resolution,” he added.

PMSA chief says evolving maritime challenges, law-enforcement imperatives and national obligations necessitated acquisition of PMSS Kashmir

Sardar Masood Khan, the president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, who was the chief guest on the occasion, congratulated PMSA on the induction of the ship and appreciated the enthusiasm and commitment of PMSA as well as the Chinese Shipyard, which resulted in the construction and induction of the ships.

He also praised the PMSA’s role not only in law-enforcement but also in safeguarding the maritime economic interests of Pakistan.

The chief guest also visited various sections of the ship where he was briefed by the commanding officer of the PMSS Kashmir about its capabilities.

Navy Day

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi in his message for Navy Day, falling on Sept 8, has said the day is reminiscent of a glorious chapter in Pakistan’s history when the unmatched courage and unwavering commitment of the men in white quashed pipe dreams and misplaced ambitions of the country’s adversary.

About the significance of the day, he said that Pakistan Navy in a bold and daring ‘Operation Somnath’ attacked the Indian Radar Station at Dwarka and right at the onset of the war gained psychological ascendancy and subsequently a single prowling submarine, PNS Ghazi, maintained unchallenged superiority at sea throughout the war. This effectively led to the might of the Indian fleet, including their aircraft carrier, being confined to Indian harbours.

“Pakistan Navy commemorates this day to pay tribute to our Ghazis and war heroes whose sacrifices and gallant acts instil in us a renewed spirit and an un-abating resolve. While fondly remembering the daring acts of our officers and men who humbled and frustrated the adversary, this day calls for rekindling the spirit of sacrifice and selfless devotion to the country,” he said in the message.

“Today Pakistan is facing myriad of security challenges at internal and external fronts. On the internal front, certain anti-Pakistan players seek to disturb peace and harmony in our country. Armed forces of Pakistan are at the forefront of the national resolve of eradicating such elements from the country. Pakistan Navy is also playing its due role as part of Operation Raddul Fasaad in collaboration with Pakistan Army, PAF and other law-enforcement agencies.

“Prevalent international environment continues to be dynamic and in a state of flux. Pakistan Navy, through its initiatives and diverse engagements with regional and extra-regional navies, has emerged as a key player in the region’s collaborative maritime security paradigm.

“In order to pursue national interests with strategic autonomy, Pakistan Navy has instituted Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the IOR, in line with UN Resolutions and UN Charter on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) with an aim to maintain a robust security posture in critical maritime areas and choke points of the IOR.

“Our geostrategic location, at the crossroad of world energy routes, offers us a unique opportunity to achieve socio-economic affluence by initiating economic activities in the maritime domain. To take full benefits of our maritime potential, we have to overcome sea blindness and diversify our national economy by exploiting the Blue Economy. Pakistan Navy is fully cognisant of security challenges associated with the CPEC and Gwadar Port and its seaward approaches and stands vigilant to safeguard against any conventional or asymmetric threat. We have strengthened maritime and coastal security through various initiatives, including raising a dedicated Task Force — 88 as well as Coastal Security & Harbour Defence Force. Plans for induction of modern surface combatants, state-of-the-art submarines & aircraft and quite a few indigenously developed weapon systems, is reflection of our commitment to maintain a balanced navy to defend our maritime frontiers.

“Sept 8, 1965, will remain a golden chapter in our naval history and continue to inspire our new generation of officers and sailors to be bold and innovative in our professional pursuits.”

“We stand committed to keeping the spirit of Sept 8, 1965, alive and pledge to defend our sea frontiers with unflinching resolve, devotion and commitment,” he added.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018