The keel laying ceremony of 3rd MILGEM Class Corvette for Pakistan Navy was held at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) on 25 October. Minister of National Defence Turkey, Mr. Hulusi Akar, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. The ceremony was attended by Minister for Defence Production of Pakistan, Ms Zubaida Jalal and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi.
While addressing the ceremony, the honorable Chief Guest termed Keel laying of PN MILGEM Corvette as a historic event for Ministry of Defence Production, Pakistan Navy, KS&EW and M/s ASFAT of Turkey. Ankara and Islamabad cooperate in many different domains, said Akar, adding: "Pakistani people, because of their invaluable support during our war of independence, have a special place in our hearts and minds. Turkish people will never forget the generosity of the Pakistani people with whom we’re always together both in good and bad times. Mr. Hulusi Akar reaffirmed that Turkey stand in complete solidarity with Pakistan for its principled position on Kashmir issue and Azerbaijan conflict.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Defence Production Ms Zubaida Jalal appreciated the performance of Karachi Shipyard and underlined that indigenization is forefront of our policy.
MD KS&EW Rear Admiral Ather Saleem in his welcome address said Karachi Shipyard is pursuing projects for self-reliance in Defence Shipbuilding Industry. He emphasized that deep rooted friendship with brotherly country Turkey for this mega project will open new vistas of further cooperation in the field of indigenous warship construction and other defence sectors in Pakistan.
The MILGEM project, undertaken by Turkish National Defense Ministry firm ASFAT is part of agreement signed in July 2018 with Turkey whereby two ships are being built in Turkey and two in Pakistan. The 2nd MILGEM Class Corvette will be delivered in early half of 2024.
The MILGEM Class Corvettes will be one of the most technologically advanced stealth surface platforms of Pakistan Navy Fleet. The vessel is equipped with state of the art weapons & modern sensors including surface to surface, surface to air missiles, anti-submarine weapons and Command & Control system. Induction of these ships in Pakistan Navy would significantly add to the lethality of Pakistan Navy’s capabilities and contribute in maintaining peace, security and balance of power in Indian Ocean Region.
During his two days visit to Pakistan, Hulusi Akar separately called on Defence Production Minister Ms. Zobaida Jalal, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen. Nadeem Raza and discussed further promoting defence cooperation and shared views on regional situation.