KARACHI: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah has said that an efficient and strong navy is vital for the protection of Pakistan’s maritime interests, according to a statement issued here by the Pakistan Navy on Wednesday. Addressing annual efficiency competition parade and award ceremony held at the PN Dockyard, he said that the Pakistan Navy Fleet during the last year participated in various maritime exercises and live weapon firings. Active participation in these operations helped in improving operational plans, material state and operational capabilities of the Pakistan Navy, he said.He pointed out that successful missile firings and effectively thwarting adversary’s submarine attempt of intrusion in the area was also a testimony of PN fleet’s professional capability. Realizing the challenges faced to ensure security of the Gwadar Port; the naval chief also lauded the raising of a dedicated Task Force 88 for the CPEC maritime security. He re-affirmed that the Pakistan Navy would continue to discharge its responsibilities and contribute effectively in ensuring the security of maritime boundaries of Pakistan. He said that acquisition of Hangor class submarines would greatly add to the operational capability of the Pakistan Navy. In addition, he said that efforts were in hand to acquire modern warships. Besides the acquisition of modern weapon systems, “we should also keep in mind that it is rigorous training and untiring efforts which can provide us an edge over the enemy,” the naval chief said. Presenting operational achievements, Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini said that besides successful conduct of major maritime exercises and other operational activities, the fleet units actively participated in various multinational as well as bilateral exercises and operational deployments. He also highlighted the successful surface-to-surface anti-ship missile firing as a hallmark of the PN Fleet readiness. Later, the naval chief gave away prizes to the best units of the 2016. PNS Tippu Sultan, PNS Aslat, PNS Nasr, PNS Madadgar, PNS Muhafiz, PNS Azmat, PNS Zarrar, PN Khalid submarine, 333 aviation SQN, survey and re-build depot Group and survey vessel Behr Paima won efficiency shields for their respective squadrons.