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Pakistan to strengthen its naval fleet

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Pak to acuire F-22P frigate of China. A file photo

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan has adopted a comprehensive strategy to increase, upgrade and strengthen its naval fleet to face the challenges of terrorism, piracy and illegal activities at sea, country's naval chief Admiral Noman Bashir has said.

As part of this strategy, the Pakistan Navy is acquiring news ships, increasing its sea surveillance capability, improving and upgrading its submarine operations and strengthening its coastal patrolling capability, he said.

The navy has acquired two new F-22 type frigates from China and a third vessel of the same class will be commissioned in two to three months while a fourth one is being built in collaboration with Chinese firms at the Karachi shipyard, Bashir told journalists on the sidelines of the Defence Services Asia exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Besides, used ships could be acquired with the objective of deploying them in the near future, he said.
Pakistan Navy is reinforcing its naval aviation wing by acquiring long-range maritime patrol aircraft. Two US-made aircraft had been acquired while two more will arrive later.

Their commissioning by the navy will strengthen its capability to survey large areas in its area of responsibility, Bashir said.

The navy is also pursuing a programme to upgrade and modernise its exiting submarine fleet, he said.

Pakistan is contributing significantly towards the security of the energy corridor in the Persian Gulf that is used for supplying oil from Gulf countries to Pakistan and the rest of the world, Bashir said.

The Pakistan Navy currently heads the multinational Naval Combined Task Force 150 that was established to monitor, inspect, board and stop suspect shipping in order to counter terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling of illegal drugs in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea and North Indian Sea.

The CTF consists of ships from Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Britain and the US.

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