China has supplied two patrol vessels, PMSS Hingol and the PMSS Basol, to Pakistan's Navy and will be delivering two more soon to protect Sea Route of the $54 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The vessels were received January 14 by Commander of the Pakistan Navy Vice-Admiral Arifullah Hussaini.
“The ships have become part of the Pakistan Navy from today and the navy will become stronger with the induction of these maritime vessels," Hussaini was quoted as saying by Sputnik News Sunday.
The CPEC is a collection of highway, railway, pipeline and communications projects, the sum of which create an overland trade route connecting Kashgar in far-western China and Gwadar.
The ship was handed over at Pakistan’s Gwadar port in its poor and restive Balochistan province. Pakistan has already raised a new army division to secure the area around the port and the CPEC route. Gwadar City's security is already in the hands of Pakistan's army.
The economic project was called by Pakistan Vice-Admiral a "game changer" for the relationship between the two countries.
The CPEC route is part of China's massive One Belt, One Road initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar economic and transit development initiative announced by China in 2013 that aims to link the economic giant to its Eurasian neighbors along the old Silk Road and beyond.
China is spending huge amount into landlocked Central Asian countries as well as parts of the Middle East, North Africa and the Pacific. Pakistan, via the CPEC, is a major recipient of One Belt, One Road funds.
Two more ships are currently being developed, and are expected to be handed over soon. China rebuilt Pakistan's Gwadar port and took operational control of it in 2015, when it signed a 43-year-lease.
Construction on a large special economic zone surrounding the port began last summer. China's investment in the port is intended to improve connectivity between its western Xinjiang region and to provide sea route alternatives to the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.
The revamped port became operational in November, seeing two cargo ships laden with containers set off for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the UAE and Europe.