High time for Pak-Turkiye enhanced strategic cooperation, says PM after MILGEM-IV launch

High time for Pak-Turkiye enhanced strategic cooperation, says PM after MILGEM-IV launch
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Türkiye's Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi cutting a rope to launch into sea Pakistan's 4th MILGEM Class Corvette"PNS Tariq" in Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works on 2 August 2023.

KARACHI, Aug 2 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday 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.

The prime minister, addressing the launching ceremony of the fourth MILGEM Class Corvette – PNS Tariq here, 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.

The prime minister said Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a great leader which was reflected by his “wonderful” victory in the recent poll.

Therefore, the prime minister said it was high time for both countries to enhance their strategic cooperation ad add more joint ventures in other fields.

High time for Pak-Turkiye enhanced strategic cooperation, says PM after MILGEM-IV launch

The prime minister 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.

The prime minister said that Pakistan and Turkiye were tied with the commonality of faith, heritage and civilisation 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 others’ success stories and also stand together in the face of challenges… This is the level of our relations as we share each others’ bounties and sorrows,” he remarked.

The prime minister 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.

High time for Pak-Turkiye enhanced strategic cooperation, says PM after MILGEM-IV launch

The prime minister said that Pakistan Navy was fully dedicated to ensuring the high-quality maritime activities.

He 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” the prime minister 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.

High time for Pak-Turkiye enhanced strategic cooperation, says PM after MILGEM-IV launch

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.

In his address, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz condoled the loss of lives in Bajaur attack and reiterated Turkiye’s condemnation of terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations.

He said the people of Pakistan had a unique place in the hearts of Turkish people as both stood by each other throughout the centuries.

He particularly mentioned the Turkish support to Pakistan after the flood and thanked Pakistan for its solidarity after the deadly earthquake hit Turkiye in the recent past.

High time for Pak-Turkiye enhanced strategic cooperation, says PM after MILGEM-IV launch

He said considering the prevailing regional situation, the Pakistan-Turkiye defence cooperation was becoming more relevant with enhanced scope.

He said that Pakistan and Turkiye were faced with the challenges like Turkiye like cross-border terrorism which necessitated the understanding of the terrorists’ objective and acting totally opposite to their expectations.

The Turkish vice president said Turkiye had become a major global actor and reduced its foreign dependence in the defence industry, consequent to the will and leadership of President Erdogan.

He said Turkish shipping industry was among the world’s top ten industries producing the warships.

He told the gathering that the MILGEM warships were equipped with cutting-edge technology and weapon system developed by Turkish industries.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi said the MILGEM project would become an emblem of the Pakistan-Turkiye friendship.

He said both countries stood shoulder to shoulder in hour of need and exemplified the recent flood in Pakistan and earthquake in Turkiye.

Highlighting the opportunities of regional connectivity being provided by the CPEC, the Naval chief said the upgradation of Karachi Shipyard would be key to improving Pakistan’s self-reliance, through the government was also striving to develop another shipyard in Gwadar.

He also appreciated the dedication and hard work of the workers and engineers and congratulated al the stakeholders for achieving the milestone.

Turkish Deputy Defense Minister Celal Sami, in his remarks the MILGEM project was the manifestation of exemplary bilateral relations.

Calling for enhancing the bilateral trade volume, the deputy minister said Turkiye was ready to take part in building Jinnah Class Frigate.

Managing Director of Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Rear Admiral Salman Ilyas said the project showed technological advancement and commitment to improving the maritime defence.

He said the MILGEM was capable to carry out a variety of naval operations.

He said the Karachi Shipyard was is fully equipped to undertake multiple projects and was in the process of building the indigenously designed gunboat and Jinnah Class frigate, besides contributing to the water supply project for Karachi.

Federal ministers Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ahsan Iqbal, Syed Naveed Qamar and Israr Tareen, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also attended the ceremony.

By Ishtiaq Rao

Ishtiaq Ahmed is a Sr. Reporter who reports on Prime Minister, President, Foreign Office, and special assignments. Backed by 20-year experience, he has written for local and foreign newspapers. Reach out at 03335293238/ [email protected]/ X: ishtiaqrao

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