Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said Pakistan is committed to protect its maritime assets and achieve self-reliance in defence production as he launched a 17,000-tonne naval tanker, the country’s largest.
Speaking on the occasion, Sharif expressed happiness over the launch of the largest warship constituted at the country by Karachi Shipyard. “The project will further strengthen cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey. The tanker was a gift to Pakistan on its 70th Independence Day,” he said.
Pakistan Navy’s fleet tanker will play an important role in catering to its logistic needs. He said the successful construction of the fleet tanker would play a vital role towards achieving self-reliance in defence production and the government would continue to support the policy of indigenization in all technological spheres.
The fleet was designed by a Turkish firm under the Ministry of Defence Production and Pakistan Navy and was constructed by Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) with Turkish collaboration. “It is an example of Pakistan-Turkey cooperation and the construction of the fleet tanker will help achieve self-reliance in defence production,” Sharif said.
“I congratulate the navy and the Karachi Shipyard for launching the tanker ahead of schedule,” Sharif said while announcing a Rs 100 million bonus for Karachi Shipyard employees. “The ongoing development programs of the government including China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) stipulate the aim to achieve maximum output in terms of regional trade and trans-shipment with Gwadar as the focal point,” he said.
Sharif said that Pakistan was blessed with long coastline and was strategically located at the mouth of the Gulf. He said there were extensive trade and maritime activities being undertaken at two major seaports of Karachi.
These would increase manifold with growth in the country’s financial and industrial base. Additional capacity has to be created to support expansion in these activities, he added.
He said the government was committed to consolidate maritime infrastructure along the coast from Karachi to Gwadar. Sharif said he has the vision of strong, democratic and economically viable Pakistan, adding that Pakistan would not compromise on its strategic interests. He said that Pakistan has immense power potential and resources for economic development, and this must be harnessed effectively for the country’s development.