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Thursday, May 23, 2024

The glorious journey of Pakistan Navy: Experiences and future prospects

The Pakistan Navy is the naval branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. It came into existence by transfer of personnel and equipment from the Royal Indian Navy that ceased to exist following the partition of India through a parliamentary act that established the birth of Pakistan and the independence of India from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947.

Historically the Navy has served as an important component of national security, development, and integrity. The Pakistan Navy has remained an important component in terms of protection from external threats and safeguarding national sovereignty. Pakistan Navy came into being after the independence in 1947 while headed by the Officers of the Royal British Navy. In 1953, Rear Admiral Haji Muhammad Siddique Chaudhry (also known as HMS Chaudhry) became the first Muslim and Pakistani Commander in Chief of the Royal Pakistan Navy.

In the constitution of Pakistan in 1956, the term “Royal” was dropped from the name and recognized as the short form of the Pakistan Navy. The flag of the Pakistan Navy was redesigned, and Queen’s Color and white ensign were replaced with Jack and Pakistan’s flag. After partition and distribution of assets, to safeguard its miles-long maritime boundary Pakistan Navy, comprised of 4 sloops, 4 minesweepers fleet, and 8 minesweeper motors and harbors defense launches.

Read more: Iran claims two US Navy drone vessels seized in Red Sea

Looking back at the excerpts from history

From 1947 to 1968, Pakistan Navy was reorganized under the assistance of the United States Navy Professional training. Vessels and other naval combat equipment were provided by the United States Navy on lease under the SEATO and CENTO agreement to counter the Communist influence. After all these programs and efforts Pakistan Navy tried to become independent and self-sufficient to protect and guard its maritime border significantly without any external help.

Pakistan signed deals with France and China to acquire submarines, Frigates, Patrol Boats, Speed Boats, and destroyers to fulfill the required capability. Ex-USS (SS-479) Class Submarine was also transferred by the United States to Pakistan and was commissioned as PNS Ghazi in the Pakistan Navy. The first Daphne-type submarine was acquired from France and Commissioned in the Pakistan Navy as PNS HANGAR, PNS HANGAR was commissioned on 01 December 1969 and arrived in Pakistan on 20 December 1969.

In 1975 Pakistan Navy commissioned its first Aviation Base named PNS Mehran indicating that the Pakistan Navy is acquiring the capability of Air-Arm. On 28th September 1975, the first of the seven Sea King Helicopters were received from the United Kingdom marking the induction of Naval aviation and rotary wings in the Pakistan Navy by establishing the Mighty Triple Three (333) Squadron of Pakistan Navy Aviation. On 31st October 1975, Pakistan Navy received its first out of four Atlantic LRMP aircraft acquired by France. Through induction of these aircraft marked the introduction of the fixed wing in the Pakistan Navy and the establishment of Two Nine (29) Squadron.

In the war of 1965, Pakistan Navy marked the victory by eliminating the enemy threat and destroying the important facility of Dwarka. Dwarka is the Port city of India Gujrat, situated 300km away from Karachi’s Coastline. On 8th September 1965, a Pakistan Navy Flotilla consisting of seven Vessels of the Pakistan Navy attacked the Dwarka radar station and completed their whole mission to destroy the radar station in less than four minutes. No counterattack was faced by Pakistan Navy and they came back successfully without any loss or damage.

Read more: Pakistan Navy rescues crew members from sinking Indian vessel

The significance of Operation Dwarka

Operation Dwarka was the start of formal Naval warfare between India and Pakistan. The main objective of the destruction of the Dwarka Radar station was to eliminate the source of information that was affecting Pakistan badly. Due to the information provided by the Dwarka Radar station, Pakistan faced many losses. The INS Vikrant Indian Aircraft Carrier remained inactive during the whole war and Pakistan Navy with fewer resources marked successful deterrence on the Indian Navy. The international media after the end of the war of 1965 appreciated the role, capabilities and professionalism of the Pakistan Navy and how they destroyed the whole radar station without facing any loss.

During the War of 1971, burden on the Pakistan Navy increased due to the geographical location of East Pakistan. 3 land sides were surrounded by the Indian Territory and the remaining side was an ocean nearby Indian Coasts. During the war of 1971, Pakistan Navy effectively utilized its small and professional submarine warfare capabilities to deter the enemy. After the end of the war, our Navy was appreciated by the foreign media.

During the war of 1971, PNS Ghazi sank the destroyer of the Indian Navy named INS Rajput. Later PNS Ghazi became the target of one of its own mines while detonating it in Visakhapatnam harbor. On 9 December 1971, to locate and destroy the enemy’s Vessel PNS HANGAR in command of Commander Ahmed Tasnim extended its patrolling toward the north of the Indian Ocean and its sonars and sensors intercepted some radio transmissions and signals.

These signals are recognized as two warships, the initial range was intercepted as 6 to 8 miles. The first attempt in pursuit to attack these warships failed due to the disadvantage of speed but later at 1900 hours PNS HANGAR finally maintained its position advantageous position to attack these warships. In 1957 hours, the first torpedo was fired by Pakistan Navy to hit the target, but no explosion was heard, soon after firing the first torpedo fired the second torpedo was launched and a tremendous explosion was heard proving that the torpedo found its marks. PNS HANGOR fired the third torpedo and targeted the Indian Frigate that comes straight in front of the torpedo.

In this high-level action, the INS Kukri the ship of the Commander of the 14th Frigate Commander was drowned by PNS HANGAR. In this action of PNS HANGAR, 18 Officers and 176 Sailors of the Indian Navy including the Commanding Officer lost their lives. It was the first event in history after World War 2 when a submarine drowned a warship.

Read more: Pakistan guided missile Navy ship to visit Sri Lanka

In 2019 after the success of Operation Swift Retort by the Pakistan Airforce, India faced humiliation at the international forums. To counter these humiliation effects Indian Navy tried to enter the internal water of Pakistan to destabilize the peace and conduct another false flag operation, but the submarine of Indian Navy was intercepted by Pakistan Navy in Pakistan’s Exclusive economic zone. Indian Submarines were forced to sail at the surface and pushed back to International waters. According to the spokesperson of the Pakistan Navy, the Indian Submarine was not targeted due to the Policy of the Pakistan government but to maintain strategic restraint in the region. Later, footage of the interception of the Indian Submarine was circulated on social media platforms where the Indian Submarine was clearly visible.

Pakistan’s Navy and its importance

Pakistan Navy proved itself a professional Navy and responsible Navy in the Indian Ocean region which is hosting many other regional and international navies. Since the 1990s Pakistan Navy participated in maintaining international peace. During the Somalian Civil war, Pakistan Navy extended its wartime capabilities and conducted wartime patrols on Somalian Coast. While maintaining peace in the Indian Ocean which is responsible for the smooth run of 75% of world trade, the Pakistan Navy plays a crucial role in eliminating the traditional and non-traditional threats to the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) by conducting sea-based operations and surveillance patrol.

Pakistan Navy is also part of different task forces to counter terrorism and traditional challenges. Pakistan is part of Task Force 150,151, and 152 under the umbrella of the United Nation. Pakistan headed these task forces on relocation bases and its Navy is providing technical assistance and professional training to other regional navies. Pakistan Navy through maintaining peace and eliminating threats proved itself as the Guardian of the Oceanic boundary of the Nation.

On the domestic level, Pakistan Navy is playing its role at a high level through the Socio-Economic development of those coastline areas that are underdeveloped. The Navy provides financial, medical, and educational aid. Pakistan Navy in different areas of Sindh and Balochistan built different projects of Water Pumping due to water scarcity issues in these areas. Pakistan Navy built several Cadet Colleges in different under-developed areas for the better future of the next generations.

CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) is a “Game Changer” project for the economy of Pakistan. Soon after the inauguration of CPEC, enemies are trying to sabotage the CPEC project by helping terror-sponsored groups in these areas. Indian Spy Kalbhushan Yadav was arrested by Pakistan Security Forces and he accepts that India is involved in terrorist activities happening in Pakistan. India wants to CPEC project to fail by making Gawadar Port less effective after CPEC. India invested in the development of the Chahbahar Project of Iran to counter the effectiveness of the Gawadar Port. In this scenario, the responsibility of the Pakistan Navy has increased to make countermeasures and provide security to infrastructure projects that are important for the economy of Pakistan.

On the other side, India is modernizing its Naval capabilities with the up gradation of its Naval capabilities. Indian Navy is working on the hegemonic and offensive design to redesign the power structure of the Indian Ocean Region and destabilize the peace of this region. India is following the offensive design and upgrading its Navy by following an offensive model of the late 1990s. Back then, the Indian Navy fleet was composed of 100 combat vessels, 15 Submarines, 2 Aircraft Carriers, and 23 Fast Frigates and Destroyers. In 2003 with massive development in the Naval field, the total sum of number of combat vessels was increased to 140 combat vessels. The Indian Navy requested to buy 200 more ships because the old 100 ships are almost about to retire from service.

Read more: How Indian Navy aims to counter Pakistan, China

India plans to acquire 5 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), 8 guided missile corvettes under project 28-A, 2 Cadet Training Ships, 3 LPDs, 7 FFGs (multi-mission guided-missile Frigates), 8 GRP Hulled MCMVs (Avenger Class mine countermeasures ships) and 6 types of 209/1400 diesel-electric submarines and integrated Aircraft Carriers.

These plans are posturing the Indian Navy’s ambitions to make favorable conditions in the Indian Ocean region through offensive war capabilities. These kinds of developments are emerging threats to the Pakistan Navy because these developments will directly affect the capability of the Pakistan Navy. To counter the effects of Indian Plans, Pakistan Navy needs to modernize its fleet by acquiring new combat vessels, submarines, and other necessary equipment to safeguard the National Sovereignty.

 

The author has done his MPhil in Strategic Studies from National Defence University and worked as a Visiting Faculty member in the Department of International University, Muslim Youth University, Islamabad. 

 The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.