Turkey reaffirms support on Kashmir issue

Updated 26 Oct 2020

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Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar performs the keel-laying of Milgem Class Corvettes being built at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works for Pakistan Navy on Sunday.—APP
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar performs the keel-laying of Milgem Class Corvettes being built at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works for Pakistan Navy on Sunday.—APP

KARACHI: The keel-laying ceremony of the second Milgem Class Corvette for Pakistan Navy was held at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) on Sunday.

The Milgem Class Corvettes are to be the most technologically-advanced stealth surface platforms of the Pakistan Navy fleet. The vessel is equipped with state of the art weapons and modern sensors, including surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine weapons and command and control system.

The induction of these ships into Pakistan Navy would significantly add to the lethality of the navy’s capabilities and contribute to maintaining peace, security and balance of power in the Indian Ocean region.

The ceremony was attended by Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi. The Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Turkey, Hulusi Akar, graced the occasion as the chief guest.

Hulusi Akar, Zubaida Jalal attend keel-laying ceremony of Milgem Corvette for Pakistan Navy

While addressing the ceremony, the chief guest termed keel-laying of PN Milgem Corvette as a historic event for the Ministry of Defence Production, Pakistan Navy, KS&EW and M/s Asfat of Turkey. He appreciated the commitment and dedication of the Turkish state-owned Defence Firm M/s Asfat and KS&EW for the construction of the technologically-advanced corvette. The chief guest also said that Turkey stood in solidarity with Pakistan’s principled stance over the Kashmir issue and Azerbaijan conflict.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal also appreciated the performance of Karachi Shipyard and underlined that indigenisation is at the forefront of Pakistan’s policy. She said that it was heartening to see a state-of-the-art warship being built in Pakistan.

Earlier, KS&EW MD Rear Admiral Ather Saleem welcomed the distinguished guests and highlighted that Karachi Shipyard is fully cognisant and aligned with the goals set forth by the government and Pakistan Navy to pursue self-reliance in Defence Shipbuilding Industry. He emphasised that deep-rooted friendship with brotherly country Turkey for this mega project would open new vistas of further cooperation in the field of indigenous warship construction and other defence initiatives in Pakistan.

The construction of corvettes in Pakistan is aimed to provide impetus to local ship-building industry and to further enhance KS&EW capabilities. These ships are being constructed as per modern Naval Ship class standards with stealth features. The 2nd Milgem Class Corvette will be delivered in first half of 2024.

The ceremony was also attended by representatives of M/s Asfat Turkey, Istanbul Naval Shipyard and officials from the government of Pakistan, Pakistan Navy and KS&EW.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2020