ISLAMABAD - Newly appointed Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah pledged to ensure that Pakistan Navy will continue to maintain highest level of operational preparedness at all times to defend the sea frontiers and safeguard maritime interests.

Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was addressing an impressive Change of Command Ceremony of Pakistan Navy held at the PNS ZAFAR Naval Complex Islamabad on Tuesday as he sworn in as 20th Chief of the Naval Staff.

While taking over the command of Pakistan Navy, the Naval Chief said the contemporary security environment is complex, challenging and evolving. He said that national security is predicated on economic security, which in turn is intrinsically dependent on maritime security. He stressed that each one of us will have to attain highest standard of professional excellence, work with dedication and demonstrate courage in the face of odds and challenges. "My top priority will be to maintain operational readiness and to further enhance the Operational capabilities of Pakistan Navy," he said.

He reiterated that an efficient and effective navy is not only about having modern military hardware in its inventory. Traditionally, he said, the quality of human resource has always been a deciding factor and the real force multiplier.

The Naval Chief said that there is a tremendous potential, abundant will, inspiring energy level and great resolve in officers, men and women serving in the navy. He urged upon all ranks to be professionally competent yet morally upright and ethically impregnable in prideful fulfillment of national responsibilities.

He impressed upon the fact that regional environment and present security situation demand extra vigilance and concerted efforts by all. He pledged to continue playing an effective role at regional and international levels as per government policies and in accordance with our national interests. "I will seek to achieve synergy and seamless integration with other Services in all important operational and other inter-services matters," he added.

Bidding farewell to the outgoing naval chief, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah greatly acknowledged the contributions made by outgoing CNS in transforming Pakistan Navy into a modernised force of 21st century. "Admiral Sandila had been a distinguished naval chief who served and commanded Pakistan Navy with great skills, dynamism and commitment and during the preceding three years, Pakistan Navy has made notable progress in achieving some of the major breakthroughs in line with government policy of self-reliance, capacity building, bridging gaps and further enhancing capabilities," he added.

In his farewell address, the outgoing Naval Chief Admiral M Asif Sandila said that, Pakistan Navy's developmental strategy during the past three years was aimed at creation of a balanced and effective force to manifest various concepts of employment strategy, so as to keep abreast with the latest technological advancements and fluctuating threat spectrum.

Earlier, on their arrival at the venue, the outgoing and newly appointed naval chiefs were presented with guard of honour. Later, Admiral M Asif Sandila formally handed over the command of Pakistan Navy by presenting the traditional scroll to Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.