The launching ceremony of the first of the four ships of Type-054 Class Frigate constructed by China for Pakistan Navy was held in Shanghai, according to an official statement on Sunday.
“The launching event has been marked as major milestone in construction of state-of-the-art Frigate for Pakistan Navy. These ships will significantly contribute in maintaining peace and security in our area of responsibility,” Pakistan Navy said.
The Type-054 Class, equipped with latest surface, subsurface, anti-air weapons, combat management system and sensors will be one of the technologically advanced surface platforms of Pakistan Navy fleet, it added.
Islamabad signed a contract with the China Shipbuilding Trading Company Ltd. (CSTC) for the delivery of two Type 054 A/P frigates in 2017. Deal for two more ships was signed in June 2018.
Addressing the ceremony at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard, Commodore Azfar Humayun, Pakistan’s chief naval overseer in China, termed the event as “new chapter in Pakistan-China defense relationship.”
He acknowledged the commitment of Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard, China and “inexorable support” provided by CSTC for continuity of the program despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The Type-054 A warship is equipped with latest weapons, including long-range missiles and hi-tech sensors, capable to undertake operations in all domains of naval warfare, the press release said.
Beijing has long been Islamabad’s economic and defense partner.
Pakistan sealed a $5 billion deal with China in 2016 for the acquisition of 8 Chinese Yuan-class type 041 diesel submarines by 2028 to “address force imbalance” with its arch-rival India.
The allies are also actively pursuing the $64 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project in Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
The mega project, signed in 2015, aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to Pakistan’s Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.