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. Pakistan to buy four warships from China
ISLAMABAD (AFP) Apr 04, 2005
Pakistan is to buy four frigates for its navy from long-time ally China, the defence ministry said on Monday, ahead of a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

"Pakistan and China have signed four contracts for the construction of four F-22P frigate ships for Pakistan Navy," a Pakistani defence ministry statement said.

The frigates will be equipped with anti-submarine helicopters, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and other defence systems, the statement added.

"These ships, after construction, will be inducted into Pakistan Navy which would not only enhance the operational capabilities of Pakistan Navy, but will also make impregnable the seaward defence of Pakistan," it said.

The statement did not say how much Pakistan would pay China or how long it would take to build the four warships.

The contracts were signed by Pakistan defence production secretary Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai and a senior Chinese official in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, the defence ministry statement said.

China is Pakistan's strongest ally and Islamabad relies heavily on Beijing for its defence needs.

Many Chinese companies operate in Pakistan and China is involved in the construction of a deep-sea port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

China's Wen arrives in Pakistan on Tuesday for a three-day visit.

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