Pakistan Navy day: a glorious reminiscence

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Ali Basit
After gaining independence, Pakistan had realized in order to endure freedom, it ought to have a strategic ability to turn down malicious designs of its enemy. This can be well predicted by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who indebted with farsightedness precisely forecast the course of future and directed various segments of newly emerged state to prepare for the future challenges. In his address to the officers of the Pakistan Navy on 23rd Jan, 1948, he stated, “Pakistan must be prepared for all eventualities and dangers. The weak and defenceless in this imperfect world invite aggression from others. The best way we can serve the cause of peace is by removing the temptation from the path of those who think that we are weak and therefore they can bully or attack us.” Jinnah was well aware of the fact that Pakistan’s due to its peculiar geostrategic location and the hostile neighboring environment needs strong Armed Forces to protect its national interests. Pakistan Navy was thus designated as an instrument to defend the maritime frontiers and interests of Pakistan. In his aforementioned address, Jinnah also outlined his vision for the Pakistan Navy by observing that “Pakistan is still in its infancy and so is its Navy… You will have to make up for the smallness of your size by your courage and selfless devotion to duty… I trust that, by your behavior and deportment you will never let Pakistan down, but would keep up the best traditions of the service and maintain high the honor and prestige of Pakistan as one of the greatest nations of the world.” During wartimes, Pakistan Navy has always espoused high standards of professionalism and valour. In 1965 war, Operation “Dwarka” launched by Pakistan Navy caused irreparable damage to Indian Navy, vehemently destroyed the Indian Radar system. In addition, Pakistan Navy’s submarine Ghazi moved its patrol to Bombay harbor to challenge enemy’s ships namely INS Vikrant and INS Mysore to dock out and get destroyed. This psychological fear of Ghazi adversely affected the Indian Navy’s operational maneuvers. Yet again in the 1971 war, sinking of Indian warship Kukri brought an immense wartime casualty by PNS Hangor, is the only incident after WWII wherein any conventional submarine sank a Warship. In recent times, the detection of Indian Navy submarines during post-Pulwama and Uri military standoff by Pakistan Navy evidently portrays its effective employment strategy coupled with superior professional acumen. Having transcendence in operational preparedness, Pakistan Navy is no less at meeting its internal obligations by effectively engaging in the event of natural calamities to shoulder the government’s efforts to mitigate the risks. In recent times, the outbreak of COVID-19, which has trembled the existing geopolitical and economic structure of the world, has also affected Pakistan. The country is synergizing all its available means and resources to limit the pandemic’s spread and its unbearable human cost. Pakistan Navy in this regard is contributing very effectively in emergency response operations and provided immediate relief through massive air and ground efforts. It is not only assisting the civil administration in the relief operations but is also executing self-sustained nationwide humanitarian assistance programme with the help of civil society which includes large number of donors, philanthropists and volunteers. On the basis of official press releases shared by Pakistan Navy that more than 70,000 Ton of Ration, 50,000 PPEs and Medical equipment have been distributed across Pakistan with special focus on coastal areas of Pakistan. Moreover, in order to augment the naval capabilities, Turkey has recently launchedthe first Milgem Class Corvette for Pakistan Navy at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard (INSY). The contract for four Milgem class corvettes was signed in 2018 and under this, two ships are to be constructed at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard and the other two at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. The induction of Milgem warships into Pakistan Navy arsenal will augment its capability and contribute to its efforts to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region. To sum up, the Pakistan Navy has a greater role with increase and expansion in its operational scope, countering sea-based global terrorism, smuggling, piracy, providing land and sea-based security to shipping lanes. But staying true to the Quaid’s words, Pakistan Navy has stood firm against every test and trial. Every year 8th Sept, revives the essence of patriotism among people of Pakistan. As we breathe in a free country today, tribute must be paid to the ones who sacrificed their present for our future. On this historic day, the whole nation should cement the spirit, integrity and dedication needed for the prosperity and defence of Pakistan.