The Commissioning ceremony of the 1st Pakistan Navy MILGEM class Ship PNS BABUR was held at Istanbul Naval Shipyard, Turkey. Minister of National Defence Turkiye Mr Yasar Güler and Defence Minister of Pakistan Lt Gen (Retd) Anwar Ali Hyder graced the occasion as Chief Guests. On this occasion, the technologically advanced and state-of-the-art surface platform specifically constructed for the Pakistan Navy, equipped with the latest Command & Control Systems was handed over to the Pakistan Navy.
The people of Pakistan and the Republic of Turkiye have longstanding fraternal relations which have deep roots in history well before the creation of Modern Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Other than the common bonds of Muslim brotherhood and history, the people of the Indo-Sub-continent have a spiritual affiliation with the Ottoman Empire and Khalafiat-e-Usmania dating back to World War I, when the Muslims of India launched Tahreek-e-Khilafat and collected donations to support Turkey’s war efforts against western powers. In the modern age, Pakistan and the Republic of Tuykiye vigorously pursued the aspirations of their forefathers to conceive a shared prosperous future through joint efforts and teamwork. Currently, Pakistan and Turkey have close cooperation in multiple domains including trade and investment, IT, power generation, Science and Technology, Defense and Security, Counter Terrorism, renewable energy, education, culture and tourism.
In recent years, the Pak-Turk defence collaboration has gained tremendous momentum as both brotherly nations have strong militaries and have attained sufficient expertise in the production of defence equipment, the latest arms and ammunition. Pakistan has capabilities in manufacturing modern lightweight fighter jets, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery ammunition and tactical weapons, while Turkish defence giants constructing modern warships, helicopters, reconnaissance and armed drones. Therefore, the exchange of expertise and the transfer of technology provide a win-win solution for both nations. The MILGEM project is a magnificent joint endeavour of the Pakistan Navy and the Turkish Ministry of Defence along with a private Turkish firm M/S ASFAT under which four MILGEM class corvettes will be constructed through a joint venture simultaneously at Karachi Shipyard and in Turkiye. The MILGEM project has now become an emblem of Pak-Turk friendship as it would provide the foundation for future joint production and technological collaboration between both brotherly nations.
Besides landmark cooperation in the defence and security domain, the Pak-Turk economic and trade cooperation has grown manyfold in recent years. Currently, more than 100 Turkish firms are working in multiple fields in Pakistan, while several Turkish industrial giants have expressed willingness for massive investment in renewable energy projects specifically in solar and wind power generation. Presently, the volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and Pakistan is around $600 million which is quite nominal as compared to the decades-long bilateral relationship of both nations. Besides political consensus and convergence of interest at the global level, Pak-Turkiye trade relations could not boom because of similarities in exports and imports. Both countries signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) last year that might help them to cater for each other’s needs to achieve an overwhelming target of $5 billion per annum for their bilateral trade in the coming years.
At the time, the Republic of Turkiye is a newly industrialized economy and emerging market, that sits at the junction of two major continents. i.e. Asia and Europe. Currently, Ankara is ambitiously expanding its economic and military influence in adjoining regions through Charismatic leadership and kinetic diplomacy. Like other nations in the world, Turkiye and Pakistan face equal challenges to their economies, but both countries could forge a better future through mutual cooperation and teamwork.