KARACHI: Tariq MILGEM-class corvette warship, built by Pakistani and Turkish engineers, was inducted into Pakistani Navy at an impressive ceremony held in Karachi on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Turkish Vice-President were the chief guests at the ceremony.
The PNS Tariq MILGEM class corvette warship is one of the four ships that are being built by Turkish and Pakistani engineers under Turkish Technology Transfer Agreement.
The Prime Minister will also meet a delegation of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Addressing the launching ceremony of the fourth MILGEM Class Corvette – PNS Tariq, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while lauding the leadership role of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that it was high time for Pakistan and Turkiye to enhance their bilateral strategic cooperation for the prosperity of the two nations.
Shehbaz Sharif said the joint venture project was an example of cooperation and support between the two brotherly countries.
Earlier, the prime minister and visiting Vice-President of Turkiye Cevdet Yilmaz launched the fourth MILGEM warship.
Initiated in 2018, the MILGEM project envisages the construction of four Corvettes for the Pakistan Navy – two in Pakistan and two in Turkiye.
Shehbaz Sharif said Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a great leader which was reflected by his “wonderful” victory in the recent poll. Therefore, he said, it was high time for both the countries to enhance their strategic cooperation and add more joint ventures in other fields.
Shehbaz Sharif earlier attended the launching ceremony of the third Naval Corvette, PNS Khyber, in Istanbul, in November 2022. The first two Corvettes, PNS Babur and PNS Badar were launched in Istanbul and Karachi, in August 2021 and May 2022 respectively.
The MILGEM project represents an enduring symbol of Pakistan-Turkiye collaboration in the maritime domain. It is a tangible step towards self-reliance and indigenization and would fulfil the critical security needs of the Pakistan Navy.
Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan and Turkiye were tied with the commonality of faith, heritage and civilization with both sharing perspectives on regional and global issues. Referring to the tremendous support by the people of the subcontinent during Khilafat Movement, the prime minister said the bilateral ties predated the establishment of Pakistan.
“We celebrate each other’s success stories and also stand together in the face of challenges… This is the level of our relations as we share each other’s bounties and sorrows,” he remarked.
Shehbaz Sharif recalled Turkish President Erdogan and Turkish First Lady’s visit to Pakistan after the floods as well as the generous contribution by the Turkish people for the flood victims of 2010 as well as last year. He said that Pakistan Navy was fully dedicated to ensuring the high-quality maritime activities.
The prime minister said following the increasing burden on Port Qasim of Karachi, Pakistan was needed to create linkages between Karachi and Gwadar ports as Gwadar was about to become a business center for the country as well as the region.
Calling the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a “roaring success”, Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan and China had agreed to launch the second phase that would comprise green corridor, business corridor, special economic zones and IT corridors.
He said the second phase was bound to increase the quantum of business transactions and Turkiye was a “natural partner” and reiterated his invitation for the country to join that join that wonderful opportunity of prosperity.
Prime Minister Shehbaz thanked Turkish President Erdogan, Naval chief, head of Karachi Shipyard and the ministry of defense production as well as the workers for their hard work and contribution to make the MILGEM project a success.
He said that following the said achievements, certain actors were trying to establish their hegemony, so it was important to strengthen our navy and maritime activity.
For this purpose, he said the government was fully geared to provide all-out resources to the Pakistan Navy to augment national security.
The prime minister also announced a “gift” of Rs200 million for the experts and workers involved in the construction of the MILGEM-IV, with a view to recognize their efforts and for their encouragement.