Capt. Azhar Naeem, commander of PNS Babur, fifth left in uniform, with visitors and foreign dignitaries aboard the vessel on Sunday in Jeddah. (AN photo)
JEDDAH: The Pakistani Navy vessel PNS Babur sailed from Jeddah Islamic Port on Monday to resume its regular mission after a short visit to the Saudi city.
On Sunday night, PNS Babur's commanding officers and crew welcomed visitors from their counterparts in the Saudi Navy as well as foreign dignitaries on the vessel’s deck.
“Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have close relations and enjoy strong bilateral ties and are working together in various fields of mutual interest. Both navies in particular have a history of mutual collaboration,” said Capt. Azhar Naeem of the ship. “Pakistan Navy personnel have been actively involved in the development of the Saudi Navy over the years, especially in the fields of personnel training and capacity building.”
Capt. Naeem pointed to the Saudi-Pakistani navies’ joint “Naseem Al-Bahr” exercise that commenced earlier this year, saying it was testament to the strong relations between the two countries.
“Our mutual defense ties have grown over the years and frequent exchange of visits by high-level dignitaries has further strengthened this cooperation.”
Referring to interaction with Indian ships, Naeem said: “Once we come across any Indian naval ship, our reaction is like other countries’. On a number of occasions, we have exchanged pleasantries with them.”
Naeem said Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally actively participating as a frontline state to fight extremism. “We are also a part of the Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan under Tactical Control of CTF-150 to curb illicit activities including smuggling and drugs, human and arms trafficking. Hence working with the coalition forces under the mandate of the UN is not a new task and helps interoperability and ease in logistic support.”
The PNS Babur is named after Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur, founder of the Mogul Empire that ruled the Indian subcontinent for nearly three centuries.
The vessel is equipped with a state-of-the-art combat management system, torpedoes and missiles. It can also facilitate helicopter takeoff and landing.
The PNS Babur is one of the most potent vessels in the Pakistani fleet.