Islamabad: The National Command Authority(NCA) in Pakistan has re-emphasised the country’s desire for establishing the…
Abheet Singh Sethi: Until five years ago, the USA and China shared an almost equal proportion of Pakistan’s arms
imports: 39% and 38% respectively. Today, China supplies 63% of Pakistan’s armaments, with the USA dropping to 19% and second place, an IndiaSpend analysis reveals, as Pakistan mulls a response to India’s strike on terror camps across the border.
China’s rise to becoming the world’s third-largest arms exporter was to a large degree helped by heightened demand from Pakistan, which now buys 35% of these exports and is Beijing’s biggest buyer (Bangladesh follows at 20%), according to this February 2016 report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The military supplies are bolstered by unwavering support at a time of heightened tension with India and faltering ties with the US (there was a 73% drop in US security aid over four years to 2015, The Wire reported in August 2016; the US also cancelled the subsidised sale of eight F-16 fighter jets).Last month, Pakistan’s ministry of defence production confirmed a contract with China for the purchase of eight conventional diesel-electric submarines, which will cost between $4 billion to $5 billion (Rs. 25,600 crore to Rs. 33,200 crore), China’s biggest defence export deal.
The submarines could have a nuclear strategic capability–they could be used to launch nuclear-tipped land attack cruise missiles, providing Pakistan with a partial second-strike capability to rival India’s nuclear-submarine ballistic missiles.
The submarines are the latest of several big ticket arms purchases by Pakistan. Others:
Between 250 to 300 JF-17 fighter planes jointly developed by China and Pakistan. These will form the backbone of the Pakistani Air Force. Nigeria has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase an unknown number of JF-17 aircraft, according to IHS Jane’s, a defence/aerospace publication, making Pakistan a defence exporter.