KARACHI: Pakistan Navy is considering buying super-fast ships from China and Turkey for its special squadron to be deployed at the Gwadar Seaport for the security purpose, officials said on Thursday.
“A squadron may have four to six warships,” an official of Pakistan Navy told The Express Tribune on the sidelines of the on-going defence exhibition, IDEAS 2016, at the Karachi Expo Centre.
The ships would be bought soon keeping in view their immediate need in the fleet, he said, adding two defence ships have already been deployed at Gwadar. The official said the role of maritime forces has increased in Pakistan since the country has made the Gwadar Seaport operational and speeded up economic activities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He said China would also deploy its naval ships in coordination with Pakistan Navy to safeguard the port and trade under the CPEC.
Another official of the naval force added that Pakistan has kicked off the process of establishing the largest shipyard of the region in Gwadar. A similar ship-building project is being deliberated at the Port Qasim in Karachi.
The two advanced shipyards would design and develop ships and other security equipment for Pakistan Navy.
“The existing shipyard, the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, lacks capacity to meet new requirements of the force. Its [PNSC] performance, however, would improve in competition with the two under consideration,” he said.
He added the PNSC would hand over a large fleet tanker to Pakistan Navy by June 2016 which is being constructed in collaboration with Turkey.
While paying a visit to IDEAS, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah said Pakistan Navy is having four dimensional capabilities to face any situation.
“It is capable of giving the best performance on surface, submarine, naval aviation and special services,” he said.
Meanwhile, an official of the Pakistan Air Force said it would soon start the process of manufacturing the next generation fighter aircraft at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra.
At present, they are engaged in increasing the number of JF-17 Thunder aircraft into the air force fleet to 250 from the current 70. “Intensive technology is being used to make JF-17 Thunder, Super Mushshak and other military hardware,” he said.
Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Defence Production, said defence exports have increased by $75 million to $100 million during the current tenure of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif government.
“When PML-N established its government in 2013, defence exporters were worth only $25 million,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2016.