In a bid to counter India’s military might in the region, China has launched the first of four “most advanced” warships it is building for close ally Pakistan. A launch ceremony for the Type-054A/P frigate was conducted by the Chinese state-owned Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai on Sunday, Voice of America reported quoting the Pakistan Navy.
China’s help to launch the Type-054 class frigate for Pakistan is a clear indication that both countries are strengthening their military might to counter India. In a statement, the Pakistan Navy said the vessels are state-of-the-art frigates equipped with the modern surface, subsurface and anti-air weapons and sensors. “These ships will significantly contribute to maintaining peace and security in our area of responsibility,” it added.
However, the statement did not disclose the cost of the military vessels, but the estimates are reported to be over USD350 million each. China is expected to deliver all the four warships to Pakistan by 2021 with the Chinese media saying it could “double the combat power” of the Pakistan Navy fleet, according to Voice of America.
“Once constructed, the ships will be one of the largest and technologically advanced surface platforms of the Pakistan Navy fleet, boosting its capability to respond to future challenges,” the Navy stated.
The development comes at a time when China has been locked in a standoff with India for the past few months and relations between Pakistan and India continue to be strained after New Delhi’s decision to abrogate Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir last year, which granted special status to the erstwhile state.