ISLAMABAD Pakistan is in talks with China for acquisition of more than half a dozen submarines in order to enhance the striking power of Pakistan Navy. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir stated this while talking to media persons soon after addressing a book-launching ceremony here on Thursday. We are in talks with Beijing for 6-8 new submarines, he said adding the move was initiated basically for quality and cost factors. He explained that talks were launched with China after the fate of Pakistans deal with Germany for acquisition of four submarines remains in limbo for some time because of the exorbitant cost of the subs in question. However, he made it clear that both the countries were still in negotiations to amicably resolve the issue at the earliest. Admiral Noman was of the view that Pakistan badly needed as four of the six submarines in its fleet have run their course while two have to be refurbished to extend their life. Answering a question about the factors that had prompted Pakistan to opt for the Chinese submarines, Admiral Noman said that first of all China was a time-tested friend of Pakistan, secondly it was the only country in Asia which had developed expertise in building submarines and above all the time and costs is the driving force to seek a better deal. We can seek a soft loan from China to fund the submarine project, he said, adding time factor in acquisition of the submarines is of paramount importance. When asked how many of the second-hand frigates from the USA were being acquired, Admiral Noman Bashir said, these were eight in number and would need refurbishment ahead of their induction in the Pakistan Navy Fleet. We have not paid a penny in this connection, he explained. He noted that Pakistan Navy had to build its capacity to tackle multiple challenges ranging from piracy, terrorism, drugs and human smuggling. Answering another question, he said that Gwadar Port was a great national asset but regretted that its potential was not being tapped adequately. Asked what was the best viable solution to make the port a profitable entity, Admiral Noman Bashir said that the government should review the concession deal with the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) which has not been able so far to develop the port up to its potential. To a question whether he was being appointed as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Admiral Noman said that he was not aware of these developments although media continued reporting it.