Launching ceremony of the first MILGEM class corvette (PNS Babur) for Pakistan Navy was held today at Istanbul Naval Shipyard (INSY). President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi and President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdo?an graced the occasion as chief guests.
Mrs Samina Alvi, the First Lady launched the warship with a prayer. Both Presidents also jointly performed steel cutting of Akhisar, the offshore patrol vessel for Turkish Navy.
Addressing the ceremony, President Dr. Arif Alvi said that both countries shared common objectives of promoting peace, stability and development in their respective regions. He highlighted that Pakistan and Turkey were further strengthening their cooperation across various spheres, particularly in defence, to deal with common challenges and new and emerging threats.
Thanking Turkey for construction of the PNS Babur within the timeline, the President emphasized that this project is a testimony of strong relations and expressed the hope that it would further boost defence collaboration between the two brotherly countries. President Dr. Arif Alvi lauded Turkey’s continuing support on Kashmir dispute and reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering support to Turkey on the Cyprus issue.
In his address, President Erdo?an said that Turkey and Pakistan brotherhood and friendship is deep rooted in history and the people of Turkey have a special place in their hearts for Pakistan. He highlighted the enhanced collaboration between the two countries in various fields including defence production. He said despite the pandemic, Pakistan-Turkey bilateral trade is improving. He hoped that economic ties would further improve. President Erdogan stressed the need to closely work together to promote regional peace and stability including in Afghanistan.
Speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Sentop, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, Chief of the Naval Staff of Pakistan Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi, alongwith senior Turkish defence officials, including Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Turkish General Staff General Ya?ar Güler and Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Adnan Özbal also attended the ceremony.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Niazi in his remarks lauded the great achievement of MILGEM project.
Earlier, upon his arrival at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard, the President was received by Turkish President Erdogan and was presented a guard of honour.
The contract for four MILGEM Class Corvettes for Pakistan Navy was signed in 2018. Under the contract, two ships were to be constructed at Istanbul Naval Shipyard and other two at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. Induction of MILGEM warships in Pakistan Navy arsenal will augment Pakistan Navy’s capability and contribute in its efforts towards maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region.