Pakistan Navy celebrating seven decades of independence

Pakistan surfaced on the global map during the time of the cold war be­tween the USA and the USSR. Due to its strategic geographi­cal location and its relevance to the main power objective of the USSR, Pakistan was thrust into a pivotal position of choosing a geopolitical bloc. As a newly formed nation, making choices on international and regional issues proved challenging since the goals and interests were specified but it was not viable for Pakistan to strategically align with existing powers as a newly established state. Right after obtaining independence, Pakistan faced this challenge and thus opted for military alliances and agreements to protect its national interests. Consequently, its reliance on military cooperation and con­struction of foreign policy por­trayed Pakistan as a ‘Security State’, underlining the signifi­cance of the Armed Forces.

Being a state having multi-di­mensional security threats, the Pakistan Armed Forces bore the enormous responsibility of pro­tecting Pakistan’s national in­terests. Pakistan Armed Forces have always shown their profes­sionalism from land to air to sea. As a result of increased mari­time diplomacy and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the role of the Pakistan Navy has arguably expanded in recent years. In this context, Pakistan Navy’s vision of secur­ing territorial waters and coast­line, playing a constructive role in maritime security measures, combating darkness of the sea and exploring special economic zones is truly commendable.

At the time of independence, the Pakistan Navy received a share of 4 frigates, 4 naval minesweepers, 8 motor mine­sweepers and a harbor defense vessel. Initially, there was no established naval infrastruc­ture and the naval headquarters was a one-room office in Kara­chi, which was later moved to the West Wharf Building and later to Napier Barracks (Lia­quat Barracks). Although, it was a navy with extremely less resources, but the story of suc­cess started from there. With the resolution, commitment and tireless efforts of Pakistan Navy Officials, Pakistan Navy is now a commendable force pos­sessing advanced minesweep­ers, Submarines, gunboats, fast patrol crafts, floating dock, ro­tary wing aircraft, submarine chasers, fast attack crafts, sur­vey vessels, advanced missile systems and exclusive training ships etc. In addition, the Paki­stan Naval Shipyard provides domestic maintenance services and indigenizes through con­tracts and technology transfer from friendly countries. The maritime cooperation with the Chinese Navy in the West and the recent naval agreement with Turkey are some examples in this regard.

Besides, Pakistan Navy is ef­fectively engaged in ‘Naval Di­plomacy’ to further our bilateral relations with the world. In this regard, bilateral Naval Exercises with several world navies are conducted on regular intervals to increase interoperability and promote bilateral relations. In­creasing the naval strength and self-reliance is highly mandated by PN to maintain effective op­erational presence in Indian Ocean Region. The recently in­ducted type 054A Frigates, PNS TIPPU SULTAN and PNS SHAH­JAHAN marked the completion of project of four Chinese built Tughril Class Frigates followed by the launching of PNS Tariq at Karachi Shipyard indicates the momentous steps taken to­wards more powerful maritime defence. Similarly, Pakistan is also attaining the capability of submarine construction with two Hangor Class Submarines under construction at KSEW with the help of China.

At the coastal borders of Paki­stan, Navy has come a long way to help nation building through development of the educational institutions, coastal commu­nity building projects, relief operations during previous year floods and rescue & relief operations during recent tropi­cal Cyclone Biparjoy in the form of evacuation of affectees along the creeks area.

Above all, cognizant of the international obligations and changing international scenario, Pakistan Navy redefined itself and has played vital role in se­curing the international waters and ensuring regional peace. The general area of this opera­tion is the North Arabian Sea, including parts of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Paki­stan is part of international task forces (CTF- 150 and CTF-151) and has done excellent job in international campaign against piracy, drug and human traf­ficking. Pakistan in conjunction with other coalition partners has carried out various success­ful operations and seized many ships. Pakistan Navy also joined the US led coalition, called Co­alition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP) in the year 2004. The campaign, which is mari­time component of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ (OEF), de­signed to keep a check on sea-borne terrorist elements.

With declaration of region­al fate changer project CPEC, the responsibility of Pakistan Navy has increased drastically to ensure security of multi bil­lion project. To respond call of duty, Pakistan Navy raised a specialized Task Force to pro­vide security to Gwadar Port and the projects under CPEC. Henceforth, undoubtedly Paki­stan Navy is now an important component of the economic se­curity of Pakistan.

In a nutshell, Pakistan Navy started its journey with limited resources, but with the vision, resolution, commitment and tireless efforts of countries’ leadership and sacrifices of the Navy personnel, Pakistan Navy is now a committed and profes­sional sea arm that has proved its professionalism interna­tionally. Moreover, from securi­ty of coastal borders to the na­tion building efforts, Pakistan Navy has always come up to the expectations of the nation in these seventy years. With the current vision to address sea blindness, exploring natural resources in special economic zones and securing of gigantic economic opportunity, CPEC, Pakistan Navy is emerging as a significant economic compo­nent of the country.

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