ORMARA: Pakistan will soon set up a naval base at Gwadar, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Shahid Karimullah told journalists on Sunday.

The naval chief said the Government of Pakistan was willing to provide assistance in setting up the naval base. “This will be the country’s third naval base after Karachi and Ormara,” said Admiral Karimullah, while briefing journalists. The naval chief praised President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali for looking after the Navy’s needs.

He said the first phase of the Gwadar project was about to be completed and the second phase would start soon. He said that the Gwadar seaport would not only help shift commercial traffic from Karachi but also improve the country’s defence in deep sea waters.

“Due to inherent slow movement of naval vessels, it had become necessary to set up another base away from Karachi,” the naval chief said. Admiral Karimullah said the Ormara port would ensure smooth flow of naval ships during war.

Journalists were told that “third level” repair and maintenance would be provided for naval ships and submarines in the second phase of the Jinnah Naval Base in Ormara. Work on the project will start by the end of this year.

Rear Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Rao said the Exclusive Economic Zone, covering a 240,000 square kilometers area in the Arabia Sea, was rich in natural resources including, oil, gas, minerals and fish.

He said the Navy would submit its survey of the zone to the United Nations by 2007 after which its boundary was likely to expand up to 30,000 sq km.

Source: Daily Times