Pakistan Shipbuilding Industry and Blue Economy
Karachi Shipyard, the oldest and the only major shipyard in Pakistan, is experiencing unprecedented growth. It is rapidly expanding manufacturing facilities to respond to growing demand for both civilian and military vessels. Karachi also has several small boat yards near Karachi Fish Harbor where craftsmen build wooden fishing vessels with their hands to meet fishermen's demand. There are now plans in the works for building a new shipyard in Gwadar. Pakistan has the potential to build a large "Blue Economy" in its 290,000 square kilometers of coastal water or about 36% of the country's land area open for tapping vast resources in it. These resources include seafood and energy resources as well as international transport and trade connectivity with the rest of the world. It offers opportunities for water sports, recreation and tourism in the coastal areas of Pakistan. Pakistan needs a large fleet of ships to defend it and to take full economic advantage of it.
|Blue Economy. Source: World Bank|
Several new dry docks are being built at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) to cater to growing demand from Pakistan Navy and other government agencies. Two patrol boats have been built jointly with Dutch builder Damen at KSEW and delivered to Pakistan Customs.
Four Type-039B ‘Hangor Class’ Chinese designed AIP submarines are planned to be built at KSEW. Keel-laying ceremony was held recently at KSEW for Turkish-designed MILGEM corvettes for Pakistan Navy. There are discussions underway to build Dutch Damon corvettes at KSEW for Pakistan Navy.
Karachi shipyard is too small for servicing large ships owned by Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).
Karachi Fish Harbor:
Pakistani craftsman are continuing to build wooden fishing vessels for domestic and foreign buyers. They deliver 30 to 40 fishing vessels every year, in addition to repair work at the yard. Their foreign customers include fishermen from Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Currently, the builders are taking orders for cargo vessels since the demand for fishing boats has gone down due to a variety of reasons, including the use of over-aged vessels, according to Arab News.
Pakistan's "Blue Economy" in this extended economic zone includes seafood and energy resources as well as international transport and trade connectivity with the rest of the world. It offers opportunities for water sports, recreation and tourism in the coastal areas of Pakistan. Pakistan needs a large fleet of ships to defend it and to take full economic advantage of it.
by Sabena Siddiqi
Recently, Pakistan has taken some unprecedented pro-active measures vis a vis the security of its maritime lanes. Apparently, the changing geopolitical dynamics in the neighborhood have compelled Islamabad to take these sudden measures to maintain its strategic dominance as an important maritime state in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
According to the official documents, foreign warships and nuclear submarines will have to take prior permission before entering Pakistan’s territorial sea limits. And if the sovereignty of the territorial waters is transgressed, the offenders will be tried under Pakistani law.
Likewise, foreign military aircraft will also not be able to pass through the airspace above these territorial waters without acquiring the requisite permit. Due to the country’s central location, these added restrictions could hold implications for the surrounding region in the days ahead.
Here are the background and some of the main factors which push Pakistan to take this significant step.
For starters, securing sea-lanes became necessary at this juncture as Gwadar port has faced growing threats in recent years. Located in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, the port has attained tremendous strategic and symbolic value ever since it became the lynchpin of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship corridor of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Even before this development, the port had unlimited potential as it has the distinction of being one of the world’s largest deep-water ports.
Prone to constant risks of terrorism, piracy, and illicit trafficking, the security of Gwadar port needs to be made sustainable to protect large-scale foreign investments there and make it the launchpad for Pakistan’s economic recovery in the geo-economic era. Not only that, the whole of Baluchistan and CPEC routes passing through it remain at risk unless the coastline and borders are secured.
Next, in a recent development, Israel and the UAE have normalized their relations and are installing a secret station on Socotra island which is 350 kilometers south of Yemen and in Abu Dhabi’s control. Collecting intelligence across the region, the station will be able to operate from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait to the Gulf of Aden and the Middle East.
Claiming to monitor the movement of Houthi militants in Yemen as well as Iranian naval movements, this surveillance station can also examine sea and air traffic in the southern part of the Red Sea. However, according to political and strategic experts, the Socotra intelligence-gathering base will be used to monitor Iran, China, and Pakistan.
Therefore, it can become a security risk for the Gwadar port. Even though the Socotra spy- station is not operating at full capacity yet, this potential encirclement had to be contained. Recently, an Indian analyst, Haider Abbas, has specifically stated that the Socotra base will be used to keep tabs on Pakistan.
According to him, “This rapidly changing scenario is altering the world situation as never before, as Pakistan which means China, would now be under the Israeli radars. If any sabotage is to happen at Gwadar then Pakistan-China would blame Israel and Gulf-states equally, hence, the relations of Pakistan with Gulf-states is going to be strained forever.”
Covering one more angle, Ibrahim Fraihat, a professor from the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies has observed that, ‘This base can provide critical security services to the US regarding the Chinese economic activity, especially its trade with Europe.” He has also explained that “Trump is engaged in a trade war with China and needs to monitor the Chinese commercial activities.”
Speaking at the ceremony, President Erdogan said Pakistan is "our brotherly country with whom Turkey enjoys excellent relations".
He underscored that the defence collaboration for the construction of Milgem class warships was another milestone in Turkey-Pakistan defence ties.
President Erdogan said both Pakistan and Turkey were living in difficult geographical regions and both countries were facing similar challenges. He affirmed that Turkey would continue to support friendly and allied countries in the defence field.
Referring to his visit to Pakistan last year, President Erdogan said the two countries signed a Strategic Economic Framework that would provide the necessary institutional framework to further enhance bilateral ties.
All Turkish dignitaries who spoke at the ceremony hailed the Pakistan-Turkish brotherly relations and reiterated Turkey's support to Pakistan on core issues of its national interest.
The contract for four Milgem class corvettes for Pakistan Navy with concurrent Transfer of Technology (ToT) was signed with ASFAT Inc, a Turkish state-owned Defence contractor firm in 2018.
According to the plan, two corvettes will be built in Turkey and the other two will be built in Pakistan, at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) — Pakistan Navy's specialised shipbuilding division — that also involves technology transfer.
Milgem vessels are 99 metres long with a displacement capacity of 2,400 tonnes and can move at a speed of 29 nautical miles.
These anti-submarine combat frigates, which can be hidden from the radar, will further enhance the defence capability of the Pakistan Navy.
Pakistan Navy is demonstrably the most neglected service. There are reasons for this state of affairs, all of them bad.
One, as the largest and senior-most service, the Pakistan Army has traditionally dominated military-operational thinking and plans.
Two, the Army’s politico-praetorian streak has added another dimension to its heft and further ensured it gets the lion’s share of defence allocations.
Three, air and naval platforms are almost always big ticket items and require monies that are difficult to find in a poor country like Pakistan.
Four, historically, even when Muslim empires dominated large parts of the world, the ruling dynasts — barring some attempts by the Ottomans — neglected naval power. To stress the salience of this point, one only need contrast the naval exploits of Italian city-states, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English with, for instance, the Muslim rulers of India.
What makes this Muslim reticence even more surprising is the fact that Arabs were great seafarers and navigators and traded with the littoral states of the Indian Ocean. For example, Ahmed Ibn-e Majid was an Arab navigator and cartographer whose book, “The Book of the Benefits of the Principles and Foundations of Seamanship,” was used by navigators right up to the 18th Century. The book discussed the difference between coastal and open-sea sailing, the locations of ports from East Africa to Indonesia, accounts of the monsoon and other seasonal winds, typhoons and other topics for professional navigators. [NB: for a detailed account of how difficult seafaring was and the five different seafaring traditions in the ancient world, the first chapter of Daniel Headrick’s Power Over Peoples… is a great primer. I am thankful to Dr Ilhan Niaz for pointing it to me.]
Five, this land-focused approach to warfare has continued in Pakistan. As mentioned above, this is due to the power of the army which (a) remains bound by traditional thinking and (b) has stymied any fresh thinking about war itself, including maritime security and the importance of naval power to a state’s offensive and defensive capabilities.
As I said earlier, these are all bad reasons.
Yet, despite these handicaps, the PN has acted professionally and remains prepared for the defence of territorial waters. To expect any more from it would be like expecting a sedan to win a Formula 1 race. Accordingly, the Pakistan Navy’s performance has to be evaluated within the functions and framework of a brown-, or at most green-water navy.
The PN is holding its 7th AMAN (Peace) exercise off the coast of Karachi in February. AMAN exercises began in March 2007. The exercise, which has harbour and sea phases, has drawn naval contingents from around the world. This year’s new entrant is a Russian naval contingent from its Baltic Fleet.
According to the Russian Navy’s website, Russia plans to send a frigate, a patrol ship, a tugboat, a sea-based helicopter and some other units. This is also the first time since 2011 that Russia will take part in a naval exercise with naval contingents from NATO countries. The last time Russian naval continent participated in naval drills with NATO vessels was in 2011 in a NATO-led exercise codenamed Bold Monarch held off the coast of Spain.
Exercise AMAN focuses on interoperability with other navies in anti-Piracy and counterterrorism operations. The drill allows navies to discuss best practices and establish operational relationships towards the common goal of maritime security.
Pakistan Navy is also the only regional navy since 2004 to be part of US-led Coalition Task Force 150 and 151 under the broader umbrella of Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan. PN has also commanded CTF-150 nine times, a distinction.
Pakistan Navy is also the only regional navy since 2004 to be part of US-led Coalition Task Force 150 and 151 under the broader umbrella of Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan. PN has also commanded CTF-150 nine times, a distinction.
But while it is important to list the professional achievements of PN within its resource constraints, it is equally important to point out that Pakistan must review its navy’s role. The famous US naval officer and theoretician, Alfred Mahan wrote in his “The Influence of Sea Power Upon World History”: “The history of sea power is largely, though by no means solely, a narrative of contests between nations, of mutual rivalries, of violence frequently culminating in war.” Mahan also argues, somewhat exaggeratedly, that a country’s military and political strength directly correlates with their sea power. As is well known, Mahan’s thinking greatly influenced the US’ approach to command of the seas.
There’s much literature on the correlation between technology, naval expeditions and power projection and European imperialism. According to Hedrick, “The innovativeness of the West came from two sources. One is a culture that encourages the domination of nature through experimentation, scientific research, and the rewards of capitalism. The other is the competitive nature of the Western world…”. A similar nexus between capitalism, scientific and technological innovations and imperialism is made by Yuval Noah Harari in “Sapiens.”
But imperialism (even of the non-occupation kind) requires projecting power. Until the arrival of the digital world, power was projected through powerful navies. Pax Britannica was underpinned by a small island country’s formidable naval power. Britain displaced the Portuguese and the Dutch as the dominant naval power and the French could not challenge British naval power even when Napoleon was winning battles on land.
Even today a blue-water navy is the ultimate symbol of the reach of a state’s flag. As British naval historian Andrew Lambert says, “Sea power played a large role in the Allied victory, as the sea determined the control of global communications and getting the most advantage out of food, raw materials, manpower, and industrial products.”
In 1914, Britain dominated global communications and resources by sea power. The Allies economically blockaded Germany. They also used unrestricted submarine warfare in 1915 and 1917. Germans called it “Britain’s Oceanic Tyranny”.
It is interesting to note the naval component of China’s military modernisation programme. By all estimates, China has fast-tracked its development of naval power because Beijing understands that without naval power projection, it cannot dominate the South and East China Seas. And it also knows that it will be contending against the US and its allies.
India, Pakistan’s primary threat, is trying to develop blue-water capability. However, if a blue water navy is defined as “a maritime force capable of sustained operation across the deep waters of open oceans,” Indian Navy can only be called a limited-range blue-water navy. A blue-water navy should also allow “a country to project power far from the home country”. And while India has operated an aircraft carrier since 1961, it does not have the full range of capabilities to meet this condition. In response, Pakistan requires, at a minimum, green-water capabilities. In other words, it needs to be able to operate in the open oceans of its surrounding region to counter the Indian naval threat.
From a nuclear strategy perspective, the most credible second-strike capability rests on a ship submersible ballistic nuclear (SSBN) platform. That’s where the navy comes back into the picture again. So far, while Pakistan has developed the capability to put nuclear-armed cruise missiles on conventional subs, the country does not have an SSBN platform.
Pakistan Hosting Seventh Multinational Navy Exercise - Aman-2021
By Dr Hasan Yaser Malik:
Predominantly, the prominent civilizations like Circa, Indus Valley and Egypt have emerged and developed along the seas and rivers. Presently 2.4 billion people are living within 60 miles of the coast as ports and sea have always provided prudent prospects for explorers and admirals like lbn Battuta, Zheng He and Khair-Udin Barbarossa who dominated the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean in 15th and 16th century respectively, Consequently, the domination led to enhancement of sea trade as seas were considered as a common human heritage however, during and after Second World War countries like U.S, UK, France, Spain and Italy started to build stronger navies with a view to not only consolidate on colonization but also to dominate the sea trade routes across the globe and established overseas naval bases since 1970s to control the vital choke points along sea lines of communication (SLOCs).
Such extra regional emergence led to expansion of navies such as China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, India, Iran and Pakistan to strengthen the domain of Maritime Security not only by securing their lands and SLOCs but also to explore marine sources.
In case of Pakistan due to its neighbouring environments Maritime Security is more pivotal for protection of its SLOCs and economy. Following the trends of enhancing global interdependence world navies have adopted the approach to conduct joint naval drills with a view to share new professional techniques of Maritime domain and to enhance diplomatic understanding.
Pakistan being a conscientious nation is committed to its resolve of peace coexistence and is determined for superior regional harmony and cooperation thus Pakistan is contributing as part of UN Peace Enforcing and Peace Keeping Missions.
Proudly: Pakistan Navy has been entrusted with command of Maritime Task Force 150 and 151 and has participated in various bilateral and multilateral exercises. Pakistan took initiative by conducting Multilateral Biennial Exercise AMAN 2007 with a view to reveal its obligations to peace, contribute towards regional Maritime Security and enhance interoperability between regional and extra regional navies, particularly against asymmetric threats.
Ever increasing numbers of participants have made AMAN International Naval Event with its seventh episode planned in February 2021. Considering the geo-political manoeuvre place Of Pakistan, significance of Gwadar Port.
CPEC and the professional credentials of Pakistan Navy even Blue Water navies are keen for regular participation. During first AMAN Exercise in 2007: 28 countries and 29 observers participated and in 2019: 46 countries and 115 observers along with 2 Japanese P3C aircrafts, 15 Special Operation Forces, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Maritime Teams participated.
It is accepted that this time more than 40 countries as well as international observers and warships will participate.
Exercise is designed to provide firstly to provision of common forum for information sharing, mutual understanding and identifying areas of common interests.
Secondly, developing and practicing in response tactics, techniques and procedures against asymmetric and traditional threats during sea phase of the exercise and finally interaction with other nationals to share multicultural opportunities including Cultural Display and Food Gala.
Exercise focuses on objectives to enhance interoperability with regional and extra regional navies thereby acting as a bridge between the regions and display unrted resolve against terrorism and crimes in the Maritime Domain.
Pakistan has announced that it is set to commence the construction of a new shipyard in Gwadar, a port city in Balochistan.
The new shipyard is expected to boost commercial shipbuilding and repair industry, create employment, and promote economic growth, reported Gulf News.
The project will be executed by Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments.
Both governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of the Gwadar shipyard.
Federal Minister for Defence Production Zobaida Jalal said that the new shipyard will offer shipbuilding, repairing, and training facilities, which will benefit the entire region.
The construction work will commence after the completion of the project’s feasibility study.
According to the officials, the project is expected to be completed within two to three years.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan described the project to be a historical one as it would ‘usher the province in a new era of prosperity and economic development’.
Maritime analyst Commodore (R) Muhammad Obaidullah said: “The shipbuilding industry is important for a country’s economy, prosperity, and social development as it’s a job multiplier and a key industry that is closely linked with several other industries.”
Currently, Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW), a state-owned defence contractor and military corporation, undertakes the country’s shipbuilding, repair, and maintenance work.
KSEW has constructed more than 500 commercial and naval vessels for both domestic and international clients since the mid-1950s.
Gwadar port is located at the heart of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
KARACHI: The three-day International Maritime Conference (IMC-21) organised on the theme of ‘Development of Blue Economy under a Secure and Sustainable Environment: A Shared Future for Western Indian Ocean Region’ by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) under the auspices of Pakistan Navy culminated here on Monday.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi was the chief guest at the closing ceremony, says a Pakistan Navy press release.
The conference included an array of prominent speakers who delivered addresses during the event presenting their thoughts on the theme.
Addressing the audience, the chief guest said the government was cognizant of the importance of blue economy and taking all possible measures for its development.
Three-day International Maritime Conference concludes with more speeches on the theme
He underscored the huge potential of the maritime domain, where all other sectors of economy crisscross and also underlined that unveiling of the new shipping policy offered tangible benefits for investment in the maritime sector.
The chief guest said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was rightfully considered a game-changer not only for Pakistan but for the economic development and prosperity of the entire region.
The foreign minister praised Pakistan Navy for promoting maritime awareness in the country, spearheading efforts for the development of blue economy and taking various initiatives to ensure peace and order at sea individually and in collaboration with regional and extra-regional navies.
He also commended NIMA for attracting a large number of intellectuals from around the globe and making the conference a success.
Earlier, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi in his closing remarks thanked all the speakers, panellists and participants who travelled from far and wide or participated virtually to add great value to the conference.
The naval chief emphasised the great potential and prospects of the Western Indian Ocean region for regional integration, inclusive development and international cooperation.
The admiral also praised efforts of NIMA for the successful conduct of the event.
The last day of the IMC comprised two sessions. During the first session, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj GuI was the chief guest.
Eminent scholars deliberated on ocean governance, policies and laws.
Chairman of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology, UK, Capt Muhammad Shafique explicated the blue economy paradigm in the light of the IMO and UN bodies. Later, director of Maritime Research, World Maritime University, Sweden, Dr Aykut I. Olcer, in an online talk extended his views regarding importance of decarburisation of international shipping for a sustainable planet.
The last speaker of the session was regional head Sindh and Balochistan WWF-Pakistan Dr Tahir Rasheed, who underscored blue growth strategy, opportunities for socio-economic development for coastal communities.
In the third and last session, ZERI CEO Gunter Puli presented his views online on ‘Blue Growth Strategy for the Future World’.
Later, another important address was delivered by retired vice admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Rao, emphasising blue economy.
At the closing of the conference, on behalf of NIMA Director General retired vice admiral Abdul Aleem, director of NIMA Karachi Commodore retired Ali Abbas integrated the conference proceedings and presented recommendations.
The conference was attended by a large number of dignitaries from across the globe, officers from defence forces of Pakistan and friendly countries, academia, media representatives and researchers from local and international think tanks.
Turkey is pushing to co-manufacture warplanes and missiles with Pakistan, a hookup that could also give it access to prized war technology from China.
Turkish defense and government officials have held periodic talks with Pakistani counterparts -- the last high-level discussion was in January -- about developing and manufacturing military hardware with Pakistan, according to people from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations. The people didn’t say when they’ll meet again or how close they are to an agreement.
A deal would get NATO-member Turkey closer to some of China’s military technology. Pakistan builds its JF-17 fighter jets with China and is said to have adapted Chinese designs for its Shaheen ballistic missile.
Turkey sees nuclear power Pakistan as a strategic ally and potential partner in building its Siper long-range missile-defense project and TF-X fighter jet, the people familiar said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss strategic goals. The people didn’t say whether the talks have gotten to the point of seeking Beijing’s consent to share Chinese defense technology.
Asked about restrictions imposed on weapons exports, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that the Chinese government “has always adopted a prudent and responsible attitude in the export of military products and strictly implements China’s military export management laws and regulations as well as its international duties.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hailed “very serious potential” for collaboration with Pakistan on defense projects, and top defense officials have met in recent months. Pakistani Defense Secretary Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain met with top Turkish officials including Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in December, and discussed defense industry cooperation, the people familiar said. Akar has also met with Pakistan’s defense minister, military chief and air force chief, and accompanied Erdogan on a visit to Pakistan over the past year.
The countries already have some cooperation in the defense industry, including co-producing warships Turkey has sold Pakistan.
Turkish adoption of Chinese military technology could cause new frictions with the U.S., which would be loath to see Ankara move further away from the Western military alliance. Washington is already sanctioning Turkey for buying a missile-defense system from Russia, and has suspended Turkish companies from participating in the development of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 stealth fighter jet.
The Turkish officials who spoke on the contacts with Pakistan said the outreach meshes with Ankara’s aspiration to become a power center in an increasingly multipolar world.
Mr Khan said construction of eight floating jetties, five beach parks and two nurseries of salicornia had also been included in the development projects. He said tourist resorts at Gadani, Miani Hour, Kund Malir, Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar Marine Drive and Jewani Sunset Point would be set up.
A total volume of 894,017 tonnes was handled at the Karachi port in which the share of imports and exports were 676,689 tonnes and 217,319 tonnes respectively.
In the import category, the share of oil and liquid cargo and containerised cargo stood at 298,082 tonnes and 251,340 tonnes followed by 21,066 tonnes of bulk cargo, 36,404 tonnes of soyabean seeds, 45,444 tonnes of wheat, 23,576 tonnes of iron and steel scrap and 786 cattle.
Export cargo handling at the Karachi port stood at 146,845 tonnes of containerised cargo followed by 1,069 tonnes of bulk cargo, 21,250 tonnes of cement, 29,000 tonnes of clinkers, 17,155 tonnes of iron ore and 2,000 tonnes of oil and liquid cargo.Around 35 ships took berth and 27 ships sailed out during the last week.
At Port Qasim, a total cargo volume of 862,621 tonnes were handled comprising 632,814 tonnes of import and 229,843 tonnes of export during the last week.
Imported cargo comprised of steel coil, coal, palm oil, motor gasoline, LNG, wheat, chemical, project cargo and containerised cargo. Goods exported included cement and containerised cargo.
A Steel Cutting ceremony for the fourth Jinnah-class (MILGEM type) corvette for Pakistan Navy was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW), Pakistan. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi attended the occasion as Chief Guest.
The event marked an important milestone in the construction schedule for fourth MILGEM Corvette for PN. Pakistan Navy has concluded contract with M/s ASFAT for the construction of four corvettes out of which two are being constructed at Istanbul Naval Shipyard whereas the remaining two at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. These corvettes will be fitted with state-of-art Surface, Sub-Surface and Anti-Air Weapons & Sensors, integrated through an advanced Network Centric Combat Management System.
Speaking at the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff expressed that it is a matter of pride to witness the Steel Cutting of fourth PN MILGEM Corvettes at KS&EW. He added that it is a historic occasion as Ministry of Defence Production, Pakistan Navy, Karachi Shipyard and M/s ASFAT of Turkey have joined hands for construction of this Corvette. The Admiral in his address said that today’s event is a defining moment to further cement the bond of friendship between the two strategically aligned nations with common shared values, culture and principles. Naval Chief acknowledged the commitment and dedication of KS&EW and M/s ASFAT for meeting the challenging construction schedule despite ongoing global pandemic. The induction of MILGEM Corvettes will significantly enhance maritime defence and deterrence capabilities of Pakistan Navy. These corvettes will become a core element of PN’s kinetic response to traditional and non-traditional challenges and to maintain balance of power in the Indian Ocean Region.
Naval News comments:
In July 2018, a contract was signed between Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) of Turkey and the Pakistani National Defense Ministry Ammunition Production and Karachi Shipyard for the construction of four Milgem class vessels. Turkish defence minister, Nurettin Canikli, described the deal as “the largest defense export of Turkey in one agreement.”
The contract entails construction of two corvettes at Turkey while two at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). The contract has also provisions for transfer of design rights and construction know-how from Turkey to Pakistan.
The first Type 054 A/P frigate for the Pakistan Navy started sea trials in late May. Local ship spotters images show the frigate leaving the Hudong Zhonghua shipyard (near Shanghai) under her own power...
Pakistan signed an initial contract for the delivery two Type 054 A/P frigates in 2017. An additional contract for two more ships was announced in June 2018. The first-in-class frigate was launched in August 2020 and the second in January 2021. As for the third one, the keel laying took place on May 1st 2021. All four units are built in China and the first two are expected to be delivered to the customer by year end.
According to a Pakistan Navy press release, the Type-054 A/P ships are state of the art frigates equipped with modern surface, subsurface and anti air weapons and sensors. Once constructed, these ships will be the most technologically advanced platforms of Pakistan Navy which will strengthen its capability to meet future challenges and maintain peace, stability & power equilibrium in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Pakistan Navy is currently undertaking an important renewal of its fleet, with the procurement of several modern platforms: In addition to these frigates from China, Pakistan will also commission new corvettes from Turkey and OPV from the Netherlands. It is also modernizing its submarine force.
The Type 054A is a multi-role frigate and is recognized as the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet of surface combatants with 30 vessels in commission. They have a length of 134 meters, a beam of 16 meters for a displacement of 4,000 tons. They have a crew complement of 165 sailors and are fitted with:
a H/PJ-26 76mm main gun
8 C803 anti-ship missiles
32x VLS cells for HQ-16 surface to air missiles
2x Type 730 30mm CIWS
2x Triple Torpedo launchers
In PLAN service, those frigates feature a Type 382 radar which shares a close resemblance with the Russian MR-710 Fregat radar. Unlike the Pakistan Navy variant – whose first ship-in-class is fitted with a SR2410C radar – the Type 054A in Chinese Navy service do not feature a long range / metric wave radar.
The US delivered two helicopters and a new maritime patrol plane to India earlier this month.
The aircraft are some of the best sub-hunters available and will boost the Indian navy's capabilities.
The deliveries come amid heightened tensions with China in the Indian Ocean region.
India received US-made helicopters and a patrol plane this month, boosting that country's navy and advancing US-India ties as both seek to counter China's growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.
On July 13, Boeing announced the delivery of another P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to India, the 10th since India became the first non-US buyer more than a decade ago.
On July 16, India's navy inducted the first two of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters in a ceremony with US Navy officials in San Diego on July 16.
India's ambassador to the US called the induction an "important milestone" in US-India defense ties.
John Kirby, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, congratulated India on both deliveries this week, saying the aircraft "will substantially enhance maritime security and strengthen cooperation and interoperability between our two navies."
The MH-60R and P-8 both have anti-submarine warfare as a primary mission - Lockheed Martin says the MH-60R is the world's "most capable and mature" helicopter for ASW, and Boeing calls the P-8's ASW capabilities "unmatched" - and their delivery reflects India's concern about Chinese naval activity, particularly submarine activity, in the Indian Ocean.
That Chinese presence, coupled with the increasing age of the Indian navy's own rotary aircraft, "has been a cause of growing concern" for Indian navy leaders, who have urged expedited procurement of new aircraft, said Abhijit Singh, a former Indian naval officer and head the Maritime Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank.
"The delivery is a definite boost for the Indian navy. The multi-role helicopter deal is one the most eagerly awaited naval procurement programs in recent years," Singh told Insider.
India's navy believes the MH-60Rs will augment its "crucial" search-and-rescue, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare capabilities, Singh added.
Rotary and fixed-wing aircraft are only two new platforms India's navy is seeking to bolster its fleet amid heightened tensions with Beijing, which has the world's largest navy.
India expects to add a second aircraft carrier within the next few years and is pursuing other new surface ships as well as new ballistic-missile and attack submarines. India this week issued a nearly $7 billion tender for its advanced Project 75I subs, though they will still take years to build.
India has also developed or is working on an array of ship- and sub-launched ballistic and anti-ship missiles.
New Delhi is also bolstering its presence around the Indian Ocean, building new bases and other facilities to improve its maritime awareness and capitalize on its advantageous position in strategically important areas. (India's contentious land borders with China and Pakistan are likely to remain its military's focus, however.)
Which is your favorite site?
I love Charna Island, located near Mubarak Village in Karachi, especially when thousands of jellyfish happen to swim past. It’s a breeding ground for Arabian species, with stingrays, barracudas, pufferfish, sergeant majors, parrotfish, moray eels, albino eels, crabs, lobsters, and octopuses—and, although they’re rare, even bull sharks have been recorded here. The place offers a unique opportunity to feel as though you’re discovering a reef for the first time. Not only am I spellbound by its otherworldly beauty, but it also helps me to understand the importance of preserving this precious environment. Charna has a giant rock situated in the middle, which protects the island from strong waves, making it ideal for everyone to have a go at snorkeling here. The South Wreck is another extraordinary spot—the best-kept secret for experienced divers.
When is the best time to take a dip?
The typical diving season is from October to March, when sea conditions are usually calm and visibility is excellent. The water’s crystal-clear appearance means you’ll easily be able to spot the turtles and dolphins at their most active during boat rides.
What are the most exciting things to do on land in Karachi?
Hire one of the beach huts dotted along Hawks Bay or Turtle Beach; they have spectacular sea views across the wide sandy landscape. There are some great camel tours around here—take one at sunset. But in the evening, go to Do Darya, which translates roughly to “the place where two rivers meet;” here, many restaurants cluster at the edge of the sea. One of my favorites is Kolachi, which serves fantastic barbecue food. Next, head out on a private cruise with Al-Noor for live music and mouth-watering local dishes. The next day, go to Saddar Town for a street-food tour, during which you’ll find the best biryani and numerous roadside stalls selling bun kebabs. From here, it’s an easy walk around the corner to Empress Market for locally made products.
Any other outdoor-activity highlights?
I like to go kayaking through Karachi’s mangrove forests. It’s not only a simultaneously serene and thrilling adventure but also a great environmental-education journey—mangrove trees in coastal zones provide valuable protection from events caused by climate change. I also love connecting with nature and the beautiful mountainous terrains in northern Pakistan.
What makes Pakistan unique?
It has everything: diverse landscapes that range from woodland to lakes, beaches to deserts, peaks to cities. One day I can surf the rolling waves of its shoreline, the next I can trek to high altitudes or climb aboard the classic railways for a historic ride, ending the day at a chai dhaba [roadside tea stop] anywhere. It’s a country that will scoop you up with its rhythmic beats, rich aromas, and spectacle of sights—whatever emotion it draws from you is guaranteed to be deep.
First ‘Sea Sultan’ Maritime Patrol Aircraft Joins Pakistan Navy
The Pakistan Navy inducted its first of three modern maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) dubbed locally as "Sea Sultan" and designated "Long Range Maritime Patrol jet".
Xavier Vavasseur 06 Sep 2021
Pakistan Navy press release
Karachi, 02 Sept 21: Induction ceremony of Pakistan Navy’s first modern Long Range Maritime Patrol twin engine jet aircraft was held at PNS Mehran, Karachi. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi graced the occasion as chief guest. Upon arrival at Mehran base, the Chief Guest was received by Commander Pakistan Fleet Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf.
The newly inducted twin engine jet aircraft is a variant of Brazilian built state of the art Embraer Jet aircraft globally utilized in air operations. Two more aircraft of the series have also been contracted by Pakistan Navy. These aircraft will be equipped with latest weapons and sensors to undertake Maritime Air Operations.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff paid rich tribute to Veteran Kashmiri Huriyat Leader Syed Ali Geelani and expressed condolence on his demise.
Later the Naval Chief commended remarkable transition of Pakistan Navy Air Arm from prop to jet age of Long Range Maritime Patrol Operations. He reassured the nation that Pakistan Navy is fully cognizant of prevailing challenges and is committed to upgrade its combat inventory to generate swift response. He also highlighted that Pakistan Navy is effectively contributing towards Government’s policy of promoting peace and stability in the region as a responsible maritime nation. He further underscored that Pakistan Navy is committed to safeguard its sea
fronts while ensuring conducive maritime environment in the region.
Earlier during his welcome address, Commander Pakistan Fleet Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf highlighted capabilities of the new aircraft and expressed hope that addition of this potent aircraft will enhance PN capabilities to protect Maritime interests of Pakistan.
Later, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad khan Niazi handed over aircraft documents to Commanding Officer of the concerned squadron. The ceremony was attended by senior serving and retired PN officers and CPOs/Sailors.
Naval News comments:
The Sea Sultan is based on Embraer’s Lineage 1000E business jet, which is a variant of the Embraer 190 regional airliner. The Lineage 1000E has a range of 8,500 km, a maximum speed of Mach 0.82, a service ceiling og 41,000 ft and a 120,000 lb MTOW. According to Defense News, Italy’s Leonardo was in charge of the conversion of three aircraft, but a follow-on contract is expected to bring the total number of Sea Sultans MPA to 10.
Details on the mission payload and sensor systems have not been disclosed but the latest MPA of the Pakistan Navy are fitted to conduct a wide range of missions such as anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic intelligence (ELINT), electronic support measures (ESM), command and control (C2) and search and rescue (SAR).
The Pakistan Navy currently operates a fleet of modern ATR72 Sea Eagles and ageing P-3C Orions (set to be replaced by the Sea Sultans) for maritime patrol missions.
September 25, 2021: A monumental decision was taken during the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC, held on 23rd September 2021 at Islamabad and Beijing. The two countries agreed to include Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) under the CPEC framework.
KCCDZ, an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs focuses on providing Karachi with an ultra modern urban infrastructure zone, placing Karachi amongst the top port cities of the world.
In a first of its kind even for CPEC, the planned multibillion dollar mega KCCDZ project will be built on direct Chinese investment in partnership with Karachi Port Trust (KPT). The quantum of expected investment is around USD 3.5 billion.
Developed on reclaimed area of approximately 640 hectares on the Western back waters marsh land of KPT, KCCDZ will be a flagship project for not only Pakistan but the entire region.
In accordance with PM Imran Khan’s vision for promoting low-cost housing, KCCDZ will also provide residential resettlement to more than 20,000 families living in the surrounding slums.
The environment friendly mega KCCDZ, envisages 4 new berths for KPT adding depth to Pakistan’s expanding maritime sector. It will also house a state-of-the-art fishing port, with a world class fisheries export processing zone to boost Pakistan’s trade potential. It will also drastically improve the marine ecosystem and reduce pollution by establishing a water treatment plant at the mouth of the Lyari River.
KCCDZ will connect with the rest of Karachi through a majestic harbor bridge rising from behind Pakistan’s Deepwater Port, with exit ramps for Manora Islands and Sandspit beach.
KCCDZ carries enormous potential for global investors as well.
KCCDZ will unlock Pakistan’s unexplored Blue Economy and significantly enhance development and industrial cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
KCCDZ is a game changer for Pakistan.
Board of Investment (BoI) Secretary Fareena Mazhar stated that the BOI, as the convenor of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Industrial Cooperation under the CPEC, has undertaken rigorous efforts to facilitate the signing of an MoU between Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) on Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone (KCCDZ) project.
Consensus was reached to make the KCCDZ project a part of the CPEC framework during the fifth meeting of the JWG on Industrial Cooperation held on 15th December 2020.
The MoU will pave way for resolution of infrastructure issues plaguing the city of Karachi, besides fostering maritime development, and providing job opportunities through generation of sustainable economic activity based on transfer of technology to the country’s maritime industry.
The meeting was co-convened by the BoI and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China.
The said Framework Agreement was initiated by the BOI and, it was shared with the Chinese side after fulfilling all codal formalities in November 2020.
The Draft Framework Agreement emphasises on Business-to-Business (B2B) and people-to-people collaborations to successfully accomplish the envisaged goals during the second phase of the CPEC.
As CPEC Industrial Cooperation requires active participation of private sectors from both sides, the secretary BOI stressed on the pressing need for the establishment of an effective communication mechanism to ensure regular interactions and exchange of ideas with the NDRC.
She underscored the significance of periodic deliberations to explore new avenues of enhanced bilateral cooperation, which would also play a key role in mobilising the engagement of the private sector enterprises.
Furthermore, during the 10th JCC meeting, the Chinese side apprised that efforts are being undertaken by the NDRC and pertinent Chinese institutions to expedite the finalisation of the Framework Agreement, as it will further cement the industrial cooperation between China and Pakistan during the 2nd phase of the CPEC.
Moreover, progress update of Dhabeji SEZ, Sindh, Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC), Punjab, and Bostan SEZ, Balochistan was also discussed.
Whereby, the BOI Secretary informed that the BOI has sped up provision of utilities to the SEZs and both the AIIC and Boston SEZs are open for sale of plot to potential investors.
Both sides also discussed the progress made in the development of the CPEC SEZs, especially the Rashakai SEZ in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, which was recently launched in May 2021, while the signing ceremony of the Development Agreement of the Rashakai SEZ was coordinated by the BoI in September 2020.
The BoI has also established a Pakistan China B2B Investment Portal in collaboration with the China Council for International Investment Promotion (CCIIP) to bring together Pakistani and Chinese businesses for potential joint ventures in the country. She welcomed export-oriented Chinese companies to form JV partnerships in Pakistan and contribute to further strengthening bilateral investment cooperation.
Mazhar further informed that an MoU on industrial cooperation was signed between Pakistan and China in 2018, and based on this MoU, the BoI facilitated the Chinese side to take up the initiative of industrial diagnosis for the purpose of sharing technical and managerial know-how.
In this regard a textile industrial diagnosis was carried out by Chinese experts in 2019 and its report was well received by relevant stakeholders from both sides in the textile sector.
The BoI and the NDRC agreed to resume industrial diagnosis of other priority sectors of the economy through a mutually agreed action plan.
• $3.5bn plan envisages new berths for port, new fishery port, harbour bridge to unlock Pakistan’s Blue Economy
• Centre calls the initiative a game-changer for Pakistan
KARACHI: Calling it a “game-changer”, the federal government on Saturday unveiled an ambitious plan to rebuild Karachi’s coastline under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with $3.5 billion “direct Chinese investment” that aims to overhaul city’s seaboard with new berths for the port, a new fishery port and a ‘majestic harbour bridge’ connecting it with Manora islands and Sandspit beach.
The Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) — spread over 640 hectares or 1,581 acres on the western backwaters marsh land of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) leading to revamp one of the oldest city slums Machhar Colony relocating its more than half a million population — is an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
The KCCDZ is the latest addition to CPEC projects aimed at providing Karachi with an ultra modern urban infrastructure zone, placing it among the top port cities of the world.
The announcement came from the top when a key member of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet shared some details of the project and claimed it carried “enormous potential for global investors as well”.
“And the best thing of this project is that it’s solely based on foreign [Chinese] investment without any loan,” said Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi while speaking to Dawn.
Also read: Slow pace of work on CPEC irks Chinese companies
“The Chinese work so fast and I guess that it would not take more than five or six years to complete the project. Under the agreed plan, we would relocate some 20,000 to 25,000 families from Machhar Colony and relocate them. Believe me it’s a huge thing for Pakistan. It’s something massive. It would bring multifold advantages to Pakistan’s maritime economy and further strengthen our coastal development.”
He said after assuming the office as the minister for maritime affairs he vigorously looked for the opportunity for the KCCDZ and made all-out efforts to include it in the CPEC projects. For this purpose, he added, he consulted a number of Chinese companies, investors and officials of the neighbouring country and his efforts finally yielded results.
Earlier, the federal minister shared the “monumental decision” on a social media platform, coming up with sketchy details of the KCCDZ. He, however, did not explain terms and conditions that convinced the Chinese investors to pour in $3.5 billion (around Rs592 billion).
“A monumental decision was taken during the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC, held on 23rd September 2021 at Islamabad and Beijing,” Mr Zaidi tweeted while sharing a formal statement of the announcement.
“The two countries agreed to include KCCDZ under the CPEC framework. KCCDZ, an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs focuses on providing Karachi with an ultra modern urban infrastructure zone, placing Karachi amongst the top port cities of the world.”
The minister also shared animated and picturesque images of a developed KCCDZ, showing a huge developed coastline dotted with multiple buildings, concrete structures and planned neighbourhoods without mentioning their utilities. He claimed all the developments would take place over “reclaimed area of the KPT” spanning over huge 640 hectares or 1581.474 acres.
“Developed on reclaimed area of approximately 640 hectares on the Western back waters marsh land of KPT, KCCDZ will be a flagship project for not only Pakistan but the entire region,” the statement claimed.
At this year's joint meeting on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Pakistan's Ministry of Maritime Affairs came away with a huge commitment. The Chinese government has agreed to make a direct investment - not a loan - of $3.5 billion in the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone, or KCCDZ. This massive proposal would include constructing a mixed-use residential/commercial/seaport project on underutilized lands belonging to the Karachi Port Trust.
Illustrations of the 1,500-acre development show a mixture of high- and mid-rise buildings on a strip of reclaimed land, just across an inlet from Karachi's TP3 sewage treatment plant. The illustration suggests that its new buildings and roads will also replace the Machar Colony neighborhood, an unplanned settlement also known as the Fisherman's Colony. This area is home to about 150,000 people, primarily low-income residents who work in fishing or shrimp-processing, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres.
In a release, Pakistan's Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that the project would include residential resettlement assistance for "more than 20,000 families living in the surrounding slums."
The proposed development also appears to transform the fishing harbor on the port's West Wharf - a jam-packed marina for small fishing vessels - into a new waterfront commercial district. According to the ministry, a new "state-of-the-art fishing port" will take its place, along with a "world-class fisheries export processing zone," according to the ministry.
KCCDZ will also add four new ship berths for the Karachi Port Trust, located on the new, reclaimed "peninsula" in the harbor. It will also add a giant harbor bridge across Baba Channel, giving the new district a direct highway connection with Karachi's container terminals. It also adds an extra sewage plant adjacent to the existing TP3 facility.
"The KCCDZ will unlock Pakistan’s unexplored Blue Economy and significantly enhance development and industrial cooperation between the two brotherly countries," the ministry said. "The KCCEZ is a game-changer for Pakistan."
KARACHI: It was back in 2018 when several Karachiites first discovered this new picnic spot at the South Asia Pakistan Terminal (SAPT). But no sooner did social media along with a few newspapers publish its pictures, the hungry-for-outings public thronged the place, which was closed soon after. Well, it has been reopened recently.
This comparatively bare portion of the beach presents a clear and closer view of the breakwater, Oyster Rocks and the tall port cranes and all the cargo ships entering and leave port.
There is also a freshness about the sea breeze. A father had brought with him his two children on his bike here to enjoy the view. They were happily sipping on their box of juices while digging into a bag of potato crisps as they animatedly pointed towards the ships and the fishermen at work before them. Some children are also bathing in the sea.
“We have been coming here regardless of the barriers and closure for our catch,” says one of the several fishermen busy sorting out their catch for the day. “But it was closed for the general public as there was plenty of activity at SAPT at the time. Now the Chinese workers seem to have left and this place has been reopened again,” he added his observation.
There is all kinds of catch in the pile before them. There is very tiny fish that glitters and shines like small pieces of silver under the bright sun, there are tiny shrimp, which can be used as bait for bigger catch, too, along with different species such as squid. The fishermen are busy separating all the various species from each other and dropping them in baskets.
“Most of the catch from here is used in preparing chicken feed, also for plant fertiliser,” says another fisherman. “But we are going to take it all to the Karachi fisheries to sell.”
Yet another fisherman informed that they arrive at the place before dawn for the catch.
Dawn tried to call the Karachi Port Trust about the reopening of the China port but was informed that their offices won’t be able to respond regarding the matter or for any comments over the weekend.
KARACHI -- In an ambitious turn, Pakistan and China have agreed to develop the Karachi coast, possibly shifting away from Gwadar as the center stage of the Belt and Road project in Pakistan, following ongoing problems at the southwestern province of Balochistan.
A memorandum of understanding was signed for the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project during the recently held 10th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, after a gap of almost two years.
Based on details shared by Pakistan, China will invest $3.5 billion, separately confirmed by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, in the project which includes adding new berths to Karachi port, developing a new fisheries port and a 640-hectare trade zone on the western backwater marshland of the Karachi Port Trust. The project also envisages building a harbor bridge connecting the port with the nearby Manora islands.
The writing was already on the wall for some. In June, Saudi Arabia decided to shift a proposed $10-billion oil refinery to Karachi from Gwadar. This was a major shock to the government's plans of building an energy hub in Gwadar, which is facing massive protests due to lack of water and power.
Now, Gwadar stands to lose even more foreign investment. Karachi is the largest city and the main commercial hub of Pakistan and also home to the busiest port.
Malik Siraj Akbar, a South Asia analyst based in Washington, believes that Karachi offers not only better infrastructure, but also tighter law and order, making it an ideal hub for CPEC. "The Chinese want CPEC to leave its mark as a symbol of rising Chinese power without particular interests in any specific region in Pakistan," he said.
Krzysztof Iwanek, head of the Asia Research Center at Warsaw's War Studies University, said that the challenges of developing a major port in an underdeveloped area like Gwadar must have been factored in by China from the outset.
"[I]t may be assumed that Chinese involvement in Gwadar may be at least partially strategic. Karachi, in turn, is Pakistan's most important port, and, hence, Chinese involvement there may be of purely economic nature," Iwanek said.
Despite the signing of the agreement and expression of commitment from the Chinese side, analysts fear that implementation will be difficult.
Iwanek believes that Belt and Road projects are under scrutiny in China, as funds are no longer distributed so liberally as loans and there is a focus on more feasible projects. He suggested that it will not be easy for Pakistan to draw investments or loans for this project because China is lending with a greater focus on "pragmatism" now.
Arif Rafiq, president of Vizier Consulting, a New York-based political risk assessment firm, shares that view and said that the project had a long way to go.
"Feasibility studies, including on the environmental impact, need to be conducted. The dredging will destroy existing mangroves, which serve as a vital, natural defense against storms and erosion," he said. He claimed that as many as 500,000 people will have to be resettled, which will be a politically contentious process.
Gwadar's sudden fall from grace has implications for wider Belt and Road enterprises. Analysts said that the way Pakistan and China are dealing with Gwadar implies that any problematic project of Belt and Road, irrespective of its potential, can either be dropped or put on the back burner.
"Pakistan and China had an opportunity to develop [Gwadar] port in a conflict zone but several factors, such as corruption, mismanagement, lack of public support and transparency, have led to a loss of interest in the Gwadar Port," said Malik, as he warned that other problematic Belt and Road projects could face the same fate.
keel-laying ceremony beginning the construction of a MILGEM (National Ship) Ada class corvette tailored for the Pakistan Navy was held in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi Friday.
The ceremony at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) – Pakistan Navy's specialized shipbuilding division – was attended by Naval Chief Adm. Amjad Khan Niazi, Pakistan Navy officers and representatives of Turkey's state-run defense firm ASFAT, said an official statement.
Addressing the ceremony, Niazi said the production of indigenous modern warships with the help of Turkey is a proud moment for Pakistan.
The joint venture, he said, will open new avenues of cooperation between Ankara and Islamabad in the field of defense production.
Induction of the MILGEM-class ships, the statement added, would significantly increase the operational capabilities of the Pakistan Navy.
The ships are being constructed according to modern naval ship class standards and will be equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, and anti-submarine weapons, the statement added.
In July 2018, the Pakistan Navy signed a contract with ASFAT for the acquisition of four MILGEM-class ships. According to the plan, two corvettes will be built in Turkey and the next two will be built in Pakistan, which also involves technology transfer.
MILGEM vessels are 99 meters (325 feet) long with a displacement capacity of 24,000 tons and can move at a speed of 29 nautical miles. The anti-submarine combat frigates can be hidden from radar.
In October 2019, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, along with then-Chief of Pakistan Navy Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, had cut the metal plate of the first MILGEM Ada class corvette during a ceremony in Istanbul.
Turkey is one of the 10 countries in the world that can build, design and maintain warships using its national capabilities.
Pakistan is working to boost the capacity of its shipping fleet to draw on its strategic geographical position and help tackle the effects of a global supply chain crisis, the country’s maritime minister told Reuters.
Pakistan has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and three major ports, including Karachi. It is two days sailing time from destinations in Africa and the Middle East and its western shoreline is close to the Strait of Hormuz oil chokepoint.
A surge in demand for retail goods from people stuck at home under pandemic-related lockdowns and logjams impacting the supply of container ships and boxes to transport cargo have led to bottlenecks around the globe, which are set to continue into 2022.
Pakistan's Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said the country is in negotiations "through a public private mechanism to create joint ventures to expand into container shipping".
"The supply chain problems are faced by everyone and Pakistan is also affected. There are issues everywhere and this is one of the ways we are trying to deal with this longer term," he said on a visit to London.
The state-controlled Pakistan National Shipping Corporation has a fleet of 11 ships including oil tankers and dry bulkers and has issued a tender for another four ships, Zaidi said.
Pakistan would initially charter space on container ships "and test the market before we start discussion on how many (container ships) we acquire," he added.
Pakistan was also seeking to develop as a port hub for landlocked central Asian countries, Zaidi said, and that it was vital critical supplies reached neighboring Afghanistan after the Taliban's victory in August.
"The world and the financial superpowers cannot and should not abandon Afghanistan. If they do, it will be a catastrophic humanitarian (crisis)," he said. "It is our moral obligation to help them."
U.N. agency UNCTAD said in November smaller countries are expected to feel the most impact from the higher costs of importing goods.
China’s demand for seafood is seemingly insatiable. According to a study by Stockholm University, China will require up to 18 million tons of additional seafood to satisfy its expected domestic consumption by 2030. In July this year, five Chinese deep-sea vessels were intercepted near Gwadar on suspicion of illegal fishing. The trawlers, subsequently found to be loaded with fish, were taken into custody by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency. This incursion further aggravated protesters, who are now demanding a complete end to deep-sea fishing in the 12 nautical-mile sea limit off Gwadar.
The second reason for the protests is the plethora of issues experienced by local residents due to the security arrangements of Chinese personnel working on BRI projects. Chinese workers in Gwadar have been under attack by Baloch insurgents who blame China for the exploitation of their resources. As a result, Gwadar has been heavily militarised. Local residents must pass through numerous checkpoints on a daily basis, where they have to prove their identity and at times are refused passage. Recently, locals have resorted to protest against the daily humiliation of justifying their movements and have demanded an end to the security controls.
Pakistan’s Senate was advised in late November that China would receive 91 per cent of the revenue generated by Gwadar port.
Despite multiple public demonstrations, the Pakistan government has not fulfilled any of the protesters’ demands, which also include improvements to water supply, electricity and roads. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in a tweet that he has taken notice, but there has been no concrete follow-up action. Now protesters say they will block operations of Chinese-controlled Gwadar port and its allied expressways. They have also announced a long march to the capital Islamabad if demands are not met.
Indirectly, Chinese interests in Gwadar have become a target of protesters’ demands. Although the demonstrations are not explicitly anti-Chinese, the demands put forth are in direct opposition to Chinese goals. For instance, Pakistan’s Senate was advised in late November that China would receive 91 per cent of the revenue generated by Gwadar port. Gwadar protesters led by Rehman are now demanding that 98 per cent of the revenue be retained by Gwadar and that only 2 percent goes to China. China has spent billions of dollars in Pakistan with the anticipation of substantial revenue from Gwadar port in the future.
The Gwadar sit-in protest was temporarily called off last week when the government announced it would accept the demands of protestors. The movement’s leader has said that if the government fails to implement the promised changes, they will protest again with more intensity.
One of Turkey’s leading unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) producers, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), has inked a contract with Pakistan's National Engineering and Science Commission (NESCOM) to produce components for TAI's medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) combat drone, Anka.
TAI and NESCOM will be jointly responsible for employment, resource and technology transfer within the scope of the agreement that was inked to expand the markets for the Turkish drones, an Anadolu Agency (AA) report said Saturday.
TAI General Manager Temel Kotil said, “The contract we made with Pakistan within the scope of our Anka UAV systems will provide significant gains to the UAV industry. This acquisition, especially with Pakistan’s National Engineering and Science Commission, will strengthen our UAVs.”
The Anka UAV performed its maiden flight in September 2016 and entered serial production in 2017.
The drone, which is manufactured locally, is currently in active use by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the Gendarmerie General Command and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).
Anka can stay in the air for more than 24 hours at an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) with a payload capacity of 250 kilograms (550 pounds).
Anka has three configurations. The Anka-S configuration has Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) capability through satellite links and is being used by the TSK and the Gendarmerie units. The Anka-B configuration can use Link Relay capabilities and is also used by the TSK and the Gendarmerie The Anka-I, which is the configuration that performs signal intelligence, is used by the MIT.
Will Pakistan’s indigenous ‘PNS Haibat’ prove to be a gamechanger for its defence industry or the dragon’s proxy?
Security columnist and analyst Rear Admiral Vineet Bakhshi (Retd) highlighted the Pakistani industry’s collaborative effort with Beijing.
By Aritra Banerjee & Shreya Mundhra
The Pakistan Navy commissioned its first indigenous Fast Attack Craft Missile FAC (M) PNS Haibat. Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) issued a statement announcing the commissioning of the country’s indigenous vessel: “PNS Haibat is the first project designed by Maritime Technologies Complex and constructed by Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) without any foreign technical assistance.”
The indigenous aspect of this development and its regional and global significance seems to be a divisive subject. Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies is of the opinion that the commissioning of PNS Haibat is not particularly geopolitically worthwhile, given that that requires the weapon systems and the electronics to be indigenous. “In this case, the guns seem to be Turkish, the missile seems to be Chinese and the propulsion seems to be Franco-German. So, the possibility of re-export or rather export-export using a re-export licence-from these three suppliers seems unlikely,” he stated.
The Chinese involvement seems to have cast an ominous shadow on the development, too. In a scathing review, Captain DK Sharma (Retd), a former Indian Navy Spokesperson, notes that “Pakistan on its own cannot make anything. So now it is a kind of proxy accretion of assets positioned by China; they are slowly and steadily building up their force. Over the past few years, they have been giving them submarines, including the latest AIP submarines. Four are being built in China, and four are being constructed in KS&EW. They have also given them the latest frigates. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is being augmented by various J-10 series nomenclature.” Capt. Sharma believes that the building of this craft points towards Beijing making a “colony”, following the trend it set by laying a debt trap for Sri Lanka.
However, analysts based in Pakistan view the development differently.
“The ship will enhance the coastal defence capability of the Pakistan Navy. Armed with locally developed ‘Harbah’ Anti-Ship and Land Attack cruise missiles, this Fast attack craft will play its part in coastal defence. This ship is completely designed and manufactured by the Pakistan Navy,” noted Umair Aslam, Founding Editor of Global Defence Insight (GDI) – a Rawalpindi-based strategic affairs think tank. “In the current geopolitical context, Pakistan appears to be concentrating on its naval capabilities. China is supplying it with new frigates. Turkey has also been supplying Milgem class corvettes and other naval vessels. PNS Haibat’s induction is also one of Pakistan’s naval modernisation goals. This indigenisation effort will enable the Pakistan Navy to pursue more advanced programmes in the future, such as frigates and corvettes,” he commented.
Referring to indigenisation of Pakistan’s defence industry, Syed Ali Abbas Bukhari, Co-Founding Editor of GDI said that “the country is already working on it, having developed state-of-the-art fighter jets like the JF-17, Super Mushak training jets, and Khalid Main Battle Tanks, to name a few.” Bukhari also noted that the Pakistan Navy has taken this significant step, “demonstrating its trust in its own capacity” to carry out such initiatives.
However, the programme was not without its difficulties, with component and equipment delivery and supply chain issues delaying the commissioning by around five years. The programme also suffered from cost overruns, coming in at $3bn more than the initial allocated budget.
INS Vikrant (specifications)
Embarked aircraft 30 fixed- and rotary-wing
According to Kandlikar, the Indian Navy is expected to field three aircraft carriers in its fleet by the next decade. With Vikramiditya in service and Vikrant now commissioned, India is beginning to plan the build of the future INS Vishal, which is expected to be larger still than existing carriers and feature updated technologies, such as an electromagnetic air-lift systems, also known as EMALS, as being installed on the US Navy’s Ford-class super carriers.
“With the experience gained in the construction of IAC-1, supported by the indigenous ecosystem it is expected that the Indian Navy will soon get a green light from the Indian Ministry of Defence to start designing the third aircraft carrier,” Kandlikar said.
Air wing composition
In terms of embarked aircraft, Kandlikar said the Indian Navy was looking to deploy a new carrier air wing comprising of either F/A-18 Super Hornets or Rafale-M fighters. The Indian Air Force currently operates the conventional Rafale 4.5 generation fighter, which is manufactured by France’s Dassault Aviation, offering a commonality option for the Indian Navy.
Capability-wise, the two aircraft are similar, although the Rafale is the newer aircraft and is being heavily pushed for export. The Super Hornet, meanwhile, is entering the twilight of its naval career. Although it still broadly matches the Rafale in terms of engine thrust it, is slightly slower at Mach 1.6 compared to Mach 1.8, but with a higher payload capacity at 66,000lb (29,937kg) to the Rafale’s 54,000lb.
However, in the near-to-mid-term, India will utilise its fleet of 45 MiG-29K/KUB fighters, acquired from Russia following the signing of separate deals in 2004 and 2010. India is also developing a navalised variant of its LCA/HAL Tejas fighter, although it is not known when the platform will be integrated into the country’s carrier fleet.
The rotary component, vital for search-and-rescue and airborne early warning and surveillance roles, will be fulfilled by the Russian-supplied Kamov 31 helicopter.
China state-affiliated media
Gwadar Oceanographic Research Sub-Station all set to start
Considering Gwadar's geographic importance, the government plans to begin construction of the "Gwadar Oceanographic Research Sub-Station" on January 6th under the patronage of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIC).
NIC official told Gwadar Pro that research will involve areas of geological processes and geomorphology of the coastal areas, sedimentation and sedimentary processes in Indus Delta and Makran Margin, geo-hazards and coastal environment, exploration of placer minerals and other non-living resources, identification and evaluation of potential areas for hydrocarbon resources in EEZ, and study of sub-bottom strata for the laying submarine cables and pipelines and building coastal length.
NIO is the only R&D research organization in Pakistan for multidisciplinary oceanographic research with an experienced and well qualified team of scientists and technicians. Since the establishment of NIO, efforts have been made to enhance the R&D capabilities oceanography and a number of projects of national and international level have been undertaken.
The latest major achievement of NIO is the submission of Case for the Extension of Pakistan's Continental Shelf to the United Nation's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). It is estimated that an area of more than 50,000 sq km of the extended continental shelf can be annexed to the existing 240,000 sq km offshore area of EEZ.