Is Pak Navy building new base for US Marines in Sindh?

     While the United States has repeatedly denied reports about a surge in US marines in Pakistan, an unconfirmed report has revealed that Pakistani Navy is secretly constructing operational facilities in Gharo, Sindh, which is meant to serve as a base for about 200 US marines. Highly placed sources within the Pakistan Navy have disclosed that the Special Service Group Navy (SSGN) is constructing a massive complex in the Gharo comprising of halls, residential units, and storage facilities, the PKKH reported. Speculations are rife that with the construction of the base near the coastal area, the SSGN would allow more US Marine 'trainers' to land on Pakistani soil on the pretext of training the country's naval commanders in newly-acquired weapons and tactics. It is worth mentioning here that Washington is planning to spend a whopping one billion dollars for revamping its main embassy building in Islamabad and increase the strength of its staff. The Obama Administration is about to spend 405 million dollars for the reconstruction and refurbishment of the main embassy building and 111 million dollars for constructing a new complex for 330 personnel. A further 197 million dollars would be spent for construction of a housing unit for about 250 personnel. Eighteen acres of land has already been acquired by the US for the project for a one billion rupees, and a Turkish firm has already built a 153-room compound for the embassy. The US is also planning to send about 1000 additional staff to Pakistan, where 750 US officials are already stationed against a sanctioned strength of only 350 personnel. But what is more worrying for Islamabad is that this surge would also boost the number of Marines by over 350. However, Washington, time and again, has rejected reports regarding stationing of Marines in Islamabad.

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