In a ceremony held at the Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group Company in Wuhan, China, the Pakistan Navy unveiled its maiden Hangor-class submarine.

Addressing the assembly, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Naveed Ashraf emphasised the importance of maritime security, particularly in the current geostrategic landscape. The Hangor-class submarines, equipped with weaponry and sensors, are poised to safeguard regional waters, reinforcing the Pakistan Navy’s commitment to a secure maritime environment.

Amidst rising tensions, India and Pakistan are using strategic manoeuvres to fortify their defence capabilities.

In 2023, India’s collaboration with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems aimed to extend the service life of the INS Shankush HDW Class-209 Type 1500 submarine, responding to Pakistan’s acquisition of Yuan-class submarines. 

Given the degree of asymmetry between the Indian Navy and Pakistani Navy, the Pakistani Navy cannot be expected to mount a head-on assault against an Indian naval armada, and instead is likely to depend on its fleet of small missile-equipped Chinese fast attack crafts and French submarines to mount rapid hit-and-run attacks on Indian battle groups, as revealed by GlobalData’s information on the Pakistani defence market

The latest submarine acquisition, part of a broader agreement settled during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, underscores the enduring Pak-China friendship.

China is constantly increasing its presence in the Indian Ocean and has financed the development of ports in Pakistan.

For example, Pakistan’s Gwadar port (part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the BRI) can serve as a deep-water port with dual uses for commercial and military interests, as per GlobalData’s intelligence on the Chinese defence market.

Under the terms of the agreement, eight Hangor class submarines will be acquired, with four to be constructed in China and the remaining four at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works Ltd (KS&EW) in Pakistan under transfer of technology (ToT). These submarines are designed to engage targets at extended ranges.