ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Navy Guided Missile Frigate ASLAT along with embarked Z9EC Helicopter visited Saint Petersburg, Russia as part of overseas deployment to Mediterranean and European regions. Earlier Ship had visited Port Aqaba (Jordan), Algiers (Algeria) and Portsmouth (UK).
It may be worth mentioning that this is first ever Pakistan Navy’s footprint in Baltic Sea since independence and is therefore, of strategic significance for Pakistan and Russian Federation.
Upon arrival, PNS ASLAT was warmly welcomed and received by Ambassador of Pakistan, Defence Attaché (Pakistan), Deputy Head of Leningrad Naval Base, Head of International Military Cooperation, Department of Western Military District and Liaison Officer from Leningrad Naval Base along with Russian Federation Navy Officers.
Russian Federation Navy (RFN) band was present on the jetty and played melodious welcoming tunes. Ship’s arrival was attended by Reps of local Russian and Pakistani media/ news channels. A short media interaction with Mission Commander, Ambassador of Pakistan and Commanding Officer was also held onboard.
PNS ASLAT Port call to Russia was planned after receiving formal invitation from Russian Federation Naval Commander-in-Chief for participation in Navy Day Celebrations of Russian Navy at Saint Petersburg. It is great honour for Pakistan Navy and recognition of Pakistan’s strategic significance that PNS ASLAT was the only foreign warship which participated in Russian Navy’s mega annual event of Navy Day Parade.
President of Russian Federation, H.E Vladimir Putin, graced that occasion as Chief Guest. Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, represented Pakistan Navy at Navy Day Parade along with Commodore Muhammad Faisal Abbasi, Mission Commander onboard PNS ASLAT.
During 03 days Port Call, PN delegation headed by Commodore Muhammad Faisal Abbasi held meetings with Vice Governor Saint Petersburg and Commander Leningrad Naval Base. Moreover, Cross-Ship visits were also conducted with RFN which helped in enhancing mutual understanding. PNS ASLAT was also opened for Russian citizens for strengthening people to people contact.
PNS ASLAT port call to Saint Petersburg will help in strengthening bilateral relations between naval forces of both countries. Pakistan Navy maiden deployment to Baltic Sea re-affirms Government of Pakistan determination to promote bilateral ties and defence cooperation with all friendly regional and extra-regional countries.