A P3C Orion long-range surveillance aircraft supplied by the US was inducted into the Pakistan Navy on Wednesday,with officials saying the plane would help in safeguarding the country’s maritime interests.
The aircraft,supplied by the US under its Security Assistance Programme,was inducted into the Pakistan Navy’s aviation fleet during a ceremony held here in Karachi.
Naval chief Admiral M Asif Sandila,who was the chief guest,said the aircraft was a potent platform and will help in maintaining protracted vigil over sea and safeguarding maritime interests.
Capacity building is essential to ensure security in the north Arabian Sea and to keep sea routes safe,he said. Emphasising the importance of the north Arabian Sea,
Sandila reiterated the Pakistan Navy’s resolve to remain part of the multi-national force present in the region and off the Somali coast.
The induction ceremony was also attended by US officials. Two P3C Orion aircraft of the Pakistan Navy were destroyed and 10 personnel killed when terrorists stormed the Mehran airbase in Karachi on May 22 last year.
Four attackers were gunned down or blew themselves up after a 16-hour standoff within the base.
The banned Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack,saying it was carried out to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden in a unilateral US military raid in the garrison town of Abbottabad.