Mohammed Rasooldeen, Special to Arab News
Publication Date: 
Thu, 2004-01-15 03:00

RIYADH, 15 January 2004 — On behalf of the French government, Ambassador Bernard Polleti conferred the prestigious “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur” on Pakistani Ambassador Abdul Aziz Mirza at a ceremony on Tuesday.

In attendance were a number of diplomats, including both the Indian and Sri Lankan ambassadors to the Kingdom, as well as members of the Pakistani community.

The award is in recognition of outstanding contributions to a Pakistani-French joint submarine building program while the ambassador was commander of the Pakistan Navy.

Pakistan launched the first locally manufactured submarine Agosta-90B on Dec. 12 last year. It was during Ambassador Mirza’s tenure that the submarine was formally put to sea for trials. Another submarine is in production and is expected to be commissioned at the end of 2005.

Accepting the award, Ambassador Mirza said Pakistani-French cooperation had a long history. During the period, Pakistani benefited from the transfer of French technology which enabled the country to build its own submarines.

Ambassador Polleti said his government was proud and happy to honor a person of Ambassador Mirza’s caliber who had been instrumental in strengthening naval cooperation between the two countries.

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