Pak Navy chief lauds performance of China's F-22P frigate, keen to expand co-operation

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Beijing, July 23 (ANI): Pakistan's Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir, has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the F-22P frigate bought from China and hopes to further bilateral naval cooperation between the two countries.

Two of the four F-22P frigates it ordered are already in service in the Pakistan Navy, while a third is to be commissioned on September 15 this year.

It is expected that all four ships will be in service by 2013.

"We are very happy with the performance, and some technology is as good as in Western countries," the China Daily quoted Admiral Bashir, as saying.

Admiral Bashir who visited China four times last year, said Pakistan hopes to buy bigger ships with more firepower from China, such as 4,000 ton class frigates. Plans include buying more ships from the UK and France as well.

Pakistan has proposed to develop strategic maritime cooperation with China in both military and commercial sects, such as in fishery, economic development zones, and cargo, he said.

He said: "The friendship between China and Pakistan is greater than the Himalayas and deeper than the Ocean. We already made progress in air force and other areas, now we should further and expand the cooperation in Navy, a broadly-based relation."

Pakistan's strategic geographical location in the Arabian Sea and its long coastline mean its possible contribution to the missions of China's navy, particular under the context of energy need from the Persian Gulf, said Pakistan officials. (ANI)

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