The first of four Chinese F-22P frigates constructed for the Pakistan Navy was formally handed over on Thursday at a ceremony at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai.
The delivery ceremony was followed by the commissioning of the ship, during which the Pakistani flag was hoisted on the ship with a band playing the Pakistani national anthem, APP news agency reported.
The ceremony was attended by distinguished guests from the Chinese Navy, the Chinese government and senior officers of the Pakistan Navy.
Speaking at the ceremony, Pakistan Navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir said with the passage of time, the relationship between Pakistan and China has grown deeper in all spheres of defence and economic cooperation.
"Pakistan is indeed proud of its close association with China and this unique relationship does not draw any parallel elsewhere in the world," he added.
According to Bashir, the F-22P frigate project was the manifestation of the everlasting strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.
Work on design and construction of the frigates started in 2005 after signing of an agreement to build three ships in China and one at the Karachi Shipyard. The other three ships are at different stages of construction. The last of the vessels is to be delivered by 2013.
The frigates are equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry and sensors and would also deploy the Z9EC helicopter as an integral part of the platform.
"The addition of these ships will not only strengthen the Pakistan Navy fleet with much needed potential but will also contribute in enhancing country's shipbuilding capabilities," APP said.