China has handed over two ships to the Pakistan to safeguard the strategic Gwadar port and trade routes under the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These ships have been named as Hingol and Basol, after two rivers near Gwadar.
They will be part of Pakistan Navy and are equipped with state-of-the-art guns. They will be used to protect the sea-lanes in the Arabian Sea. Besides, China will also provide two more ships to Pakistan Navy which have been named Zhob and Dasht after two districts in Balochistan.
Strengthening of Pakistan navy in Arabian sea region has raised the alarm bells for India.
In recent times, China has actively started extending its help and cooperation to Pakistan for security along the $46 billion CPEC’s land and sea routes. As a follow up, Pakistan Army already has raised a new division of the army to ensure security along the CPEC route and around the strategic Gwadar port. The security of Gwadar city also has been handed over to the Pakistan Army’s new division raised during the tenure of former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.
In the past, China restrained itself from deploying its naval ships in Gwadar, as it could had raise alarm in US and India.
The strategic Gwadar port is located in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. It has been developed under CPEC which link western China through Pakistan with the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The revamped port became operational in November 2016.