Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi  pakistan navy chief
Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi assumes Command of Pakistan Navy at PNS Zafar in Islamabad on October 7, 2020. Image Credit: Pakistan Navy

Islamabad: Admiral Mohammed Amjad Khan Niazi on Wednesday assumed command as the 22nd Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of Pakistan Navy during a ceremony held at PNS Zafar in Islamabad. The outgoing CNS Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, after completing three years of his tenure, formally handed over the command of Pakistan Navy by bestowing the traditional scroll to Admiral Niazi.

Combat-ready force

In his farewell address, Abbasi expressed confidence that the new CNS will lead Pakistan Navy to new heights. He stated that the prime focus, during his tenure, had been on “transforming Pakistan Navy into a combat-ready force, with special emphasis on optimum battle preparedness and professional competence.” In his speech, Abbasi highlighted the volatile geopolitical situation and heightened tensions in the recent years post-Pulwama incident. “Pakistan’s civil-military unified stance and diplomatic-military push back, frustrated Indian designs,” he said.

Transforming Navy’s capabilities

Detailing the development strategies of Pakistan Navy, Abbasi said that a fleet of more than 50 vessels was envisioned to improve the Navy’s capabilities and to face evolving threats. “Four Chinese frigates will be inducted in the next few years while four Turkish medium-class ships will be inducted between 2023 and 2025,” he said. The Hangor submarine project in collaboration with China will transform Pakistan Navy. The navy would acquire 8 Hangor class submarines between 2022 and 2028, four of which will be built in Pakistan. A major naval base being developed at Gwadar would enhance the Navy’s operational flexibility, he said.

Blue economy

The outgoing naval chief also highlighted the navy’s initiatives to create maritime awareness and efforts to optimise the blue economy “with focus on joint exploration of offshore hydrocarbon resources to reap full dividends of Pakistan’s enormous and untapped maritime potential.”

Biography of Niazi

Vice Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi, the winner of the coveted Sword of Honour, joined Pakistan Navy in 1985. He has held various command and staff appointments during the last 3 decades of his service. “His command appointments of the admiral include command of two Type 21 ships PNS Badr and PNS Tariq, Commander 18th Destroyer Squadron, Commandant PNS Bahadur, Commandant Pakistan Navy War College/Commander Central Punjab Lahore, Commander Pakistan Fleet” according to an official statement.

“His distinguished staff appointments include Principal Secretary to Chief of the Naval Staff, Head of F-22P Mission China, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Training & Evaluation) and Director General Naval Intelligence.”

He is a graduate of Army Command and Staff College, Quetta, and National Defence University, Islamabad. Pakistan’s new naval chief has a master’s degree in underwater acoustics from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China. Vice Admiral Amjad Niazi is a recipient of Pakistan military awards Hilal-i-Imtiaz (M) and Sitara-i-Basalat. He has also been conferred with the French Medal Chevalier (Knight) by the government of France.