Pakistan Names Two Warships it Bought From China After Two 17th and 18th Century Muslim Kings in India

China and Pakistan deepened their military cooperation with Beijing handing over two frigates to Pakistan's navy this week. The news comes days after China's defence minister said Beijing and Islamabad should expand their military cooperation into new fields.

Pakistan is one the biggest beneficiaries of military aid from the United States. Washington has long counted Islamabad as its staunchest South Asia ally but Pakistan has been gravitating towards China in recent years.

China frigate - Representational
China frigate - Representational Wikimedia Commons

China and Pakistan had signed a deal in 2018, under which Beijing would give four warships to Pakistan. Pakistan's Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi visited China to attend the ceremony in which the frigates were handed over.

Increasing Cooperation

The vessels delivered this week are two Type 054A frigates. These ships will be used to safeguard the seas of the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), the Global Times reported.

The ceremony to hand over the two Type 054A/P frigates was held in the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai on Wednesday. The two newly built Type 054A/P frigates are named after two Islamic rulers in undivided India. The frigates' Pakistani nomenclature are PNS Tippu Sultan and PNS Shahjahan.

While Tipu Sultan was a controversial 19th century Muslim ruler in the southern India, Shahjahan ruled the Delhi Sultanate and is known for having built the Taj Mahal.

Ahead of the delivery of the vessels, Chinese Defense Minister General Li Shangfu and Admiral Niazi agreed to enhance naval cooperation between the countries.

Picture for representation
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at the inauguration of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor port in Gwadar, Pakistan November 13, 2016 Reuters

The first ship of this class, the PNS Tughril, was inducted into the Pakistan Navy in December 2021, and the second ship, the PNS Taimur, was inducted in June 2022, according to the Global Times.

"The Type 054A/P is one of the latest multi-role frigates of Chinese origin, equipped with the state-of-the-art weapons and sensors that include CM-302 surface-to-surface missiles and LY-80 surface-to-air missiles as well as an Advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare suite and Combat Management System, enabling ships of this class to operate under multi-threat scenarios, Niazi said," the China state mouthpiece said.