LAHORE/ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan strongly wants peace and tranquility both within and outside its borders, but there will never be any compromise on the country’s sovereignty and independence while pursuing that course.

The prime minister was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Pakistan Navy War College here on Friday. He said Pakistan desires peace inside and outside the country so that “we could achieve much-needed goals set for socio-economic development.” He said: “We cannot afford to ignore our national objectives. At the same time, Pakistan will never compromise on its sovereignty and independence.”

The prime minister said: “We are going through defining moments of our history. Our valiant armed forces are combating and eradicating the menace of extremism and terrorism from our soil and in the process they are making tremendous sacrifices.” He said necessary resources would be marshalled towards strengthening the maritime defence of the country.

The prime minister said a well-equipped navy is integral to the country’s security and economic prosperity. He told the national maritime community that the government was not oblivious of the developments in the region and the urgent need to address national maritime issues.

Nawaz Sharif said the Planning Commission was already working to formulate a Maritime Vision for Pakistan. He said the government was actively working to make Gwadar Port fully functional at the earliest, besides constructing a state-of-the-art airport; expressway and powerhouses. He said: “We intend to develop Gwadar into a world-class port with all the requisite infrastructure and municipal facilities to serve Pakistan maritime and meet economic needs of the region.

The prime minister expressed pleasure that Pakistan Navy was constructing indigenous large warships and attack aircraft through revival of Karachi Shipyard. He reiterated emphasis should remain on indigenous construction and joint ventures through transfer of technology.

The prime minister said Pakistan Navy had recently developed a comprehensive national maritime policy, which would soon be formalised. First-ever maritime doctrine of Pakistan stipulating national maritime strategy is also in the final stages of completion, he revealed.

The prime minister expressed confidence that the Naval War College situated in a state-of-the-art building would further the national maritime interests with greater diligence. He hoped the college would continue to foster foreign military relations by training officers from friendly countries.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lauded the timely support and assistance rendered by the Chinese government for the relief of IDPs as well as flood affected people.

"This timely support showcased true friendship between two countries," said Prime Minister in a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong at the PM's House in Islamabad.

On the occasion, they discussed matters of mutual interest especially Pakistan-China relations.

Nawaz Sharif stressed that Pakistan firmly supports China's core interests and major concerns and is ready to work with China to keep building mutual trust, fast-tracking the construction of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor and upgrading the bilateral cooperation so as to bring more benefit to the two peoples.

The Ambassador said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the all-weather and multi-dimensional strategic partnership between China and Pakistan, always regarding these ties as the priority of its foreign policy and will continue to promote friendship and substantive cooperation with Pakistan.

China, he said, wishes to maintain close coordination and collaboration with Pakistan to create a safe and sound environment for bilateral relations as well as for the Pak-China Economic Corridor.

Sun Weidong also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend the host-partners dialogue to be held during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Informal Leaders' Meeting in Beijing next month and looks forward to visiting Pakistan at an early and mutually convenient date.

The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude on receiving President Xi's invitation and said that he also looks forward to President Xi's early visit to Pakistan, which he believed will uplift Pakistan-China relations to a higher level.