Pakistan today said it has set up a special naval force comprising ships, fast attack craft, aircraft, drones and surveillance assets to protect the sea lanes under the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) linking western China with the Arabian Sea.
The creation of the special force was announced at an International Maritime Conference on CPEC held at Gwadar which houses the deep seaport.
The Dawn reported that a senior naval official said that that the new force is called 'Task Force-88 (TF-88)' for maritime security of Gwadar port and protection of associated sea lanes against both conventional and non-traditional threats.
The creation of the special maritime force has been necessitated by the operationalisation of CPEC which is expected to lead to a surge in maritime activity at Gwadar — the nodal point for CPEC —and the sea lanes. This has in turn increased the maritime threats there.
TF-88 is to comprise ships, fast attack craft, aircraft, drones and surveillance assets.
Additionally, marines would be deployed at sea and around Gwadar for security operations, said a senior navy official.
Army chief Gen QamarJavedBajwa, naval chief Admiral Zakaullah and Air Chief Marshal SohailAman attended the conference. PTI