BE2C2 Report; Jan 7, 2017 — Pakistan’s defense forces have started building a missile warship aimed at revamping its navy as part of an effort to secure the China Pakistan trade route connecting Gwadar in Balochistan to western China.
The boat, which was designed by Maritime Technologies Complex, is considered the “first indigenously designed missile boat” and will have the “latest weapons and sensors,” Defense News reported Tuesday.
First steel for the boat was cut Dec. 29. Images from the ceremony revealed it to be a development of the Azmat-class missile boat designed for Pakistan by China. Three Azmat boats have been built, one in China and two in Pakistan by state-owned Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW).
The multi-billion dollar trade route that connects Kashgar in China and Gwadar in Pakistan is currently under construction. The trade route would establish ties between the western parts of China and the Middle East and Africa via the Arabian Sea using Gwadar’s deep seawater port in Balochistan as gateway.
Pakistan hopes the CPEC will revive its economy, whereas China’s trade and energy resources will be bypassing the narrow Malacca Strait, thereby shortening its shipping route from 14,000km to less than 3000km.
News of the new missile boat comes amid Chinese reluctance to establish a permanent presence in the area, forcing Pakistan to forge ahead with efforts to improve its maritime security, albeit with Chinese help, reports Defense News.
Beijing is therefore relying on Pakistan navy to ensure the safety of oil shipments from the Arabian Sea and surrounding maritime regions.
In that regard, China is sharing Azmat-class ship technology with Islamabad, including the “latest weapons and sensors,” according to the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Public Relation media branch.
China is eager to advance its influence in Pakistan, Central and South Asia through the project, while experts state that the $56 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will help grow Pakistan’s economy.