China on Saturday handed over two patrol ships to the Pakistani Navy at Gwadar Port towards security of the facility and the China-Pakistan economic corridor, Dawn reported. India has been closely monitoring developments in their bilateral ties, particularly as the corridor runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Beijing will hand over two more vessels –Dasht and Zhob – to Islamabad soon, the report said.
Equipped with state-of-the-art guns, the vessels – named after Pakistani rivers Hingol and Basol – were handed over to Commander of the Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini. Describing the handover as historic, Hussaini it will strengthen their countries’ friendship, The Times of India reported. China had rebuilt the Gwadar port in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. The port has been operational since November 2016, PTI reported.
The 3,000-km corridor aims to develop Pakistan into a regional hub and connect the two countries through a network of railway tracks, roads, pipelines and optical cable fibres. India had opposed the $46 billion (Rs 3,05,550,17 crore) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a part of which runs through PoK. Kashmir is the only state in India that shares a border with both Pakistan and China.