Islamabad: China will provide eight submarines to Pakistan for securing coastal areas under an agreement between the two countries, the national broadcaster said on Friday.
According to Radio Pakistan, the agreement was disclosed during a briefing to the National Assembly’s standing committee on defence held in Islamabad.
The report said under the accord four submarines would be built in China and provided to the Pakistan Navy in 2022-23 and another four will be constructed at the Karachi shipyard and handed over to the navy in 2028.
The radio also quoted Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal as saying in an exclusive interview that the nation should remain untied to foil conspiracies of enemies of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
“Our enemies do not want Pakistan reaping the fruits of peace and prosperity through this mega project. Therefore, they are bent upon making this project controversial with the aim to fail it,” the minister said.
“Our neighboring country is at the forefront in this negative campaign,” he said, in apparent reference to India.
Iqbal added the government is committed to “thwart their sordid designs by accelerating pace of work on the corridor project.”
A range of infrastructure projects under the $46 billion (Dh168 billion) CPEC plan will span the length and breadth of Pakistan.
CPEC will eventually link the Gwadar seaport, being developed in southwestern Pakistan, to China’s northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang via a network of highways and railways.
The infrastructure projects including also power generation units and industrial zones will be financed through concessionary loans by the Exim Bank of China, China Development Bank and Industrial Commercial Bank of China.
The minister said CPEC “is a long-term project expected to be completed by 2030”, adding it would help realise “Pakistan’s dream of becoming [an]Asian tiger”.