Delhi, 21 December 2004
Pakistan has recently been
promised eight fully equipped PC3 Orions, Harpoons,
Anti Missile Phalanx Guns, TOW missiles and now F16s
from USA and that must come as a boost to Gen
Now we also learn how much the
Saudis will get from Pakistan, besides the personnel
who assist them, in return for oil. A US report also
indicated Pakistan's nuclear arsenal was bigger than
India's. Surely Saudi Arabia can come to an
understanding on that arsenal with Pakistan 末 K Subrahmanyam had once told us
when the Saudis got Long range missiles from China
in the late 70s, and it created a furore. Pakistan
recently tested the Ghauri and the Ghaznavi, Hatf II
and III missiles. They are imbibing technology well
it seems and the Khalid tank is a success.
How come Pakistan, with a
comparatively small industrial base, was able to
develop such a sophisticated domestic weapons
industry 末 in aircraft, tanks, armoured
vehicles, missiles,, nuclear technology and
submarines? This is a question posed by a friend who
posted the interesting article below.
The answer he gives 末
it痴 easier for them to develop the required
political thinking and muscle to undertake a weapons
development and production programme in the absence
of a democratically elected government, with all its
attendant political pulls and pressures. But that
still does not absolve our politico-bureaucratic
establishment from the blame accruing to them in
this matter. RM Pranab Mukherjee has the right
ideas, but we guess that he too is bogged down in
politics and has little experience in Defence
Industry, which he is learning about and fast. Inter
Service rivalry and DRDO interests are what need to
be guarded against.
At this juncture we see an FIR
against Railways Minister Laloo Prasad and the
opposition will no doubt take full advantage of this
末 as Ram Vilas Paswan claps his hands in joy.
In India the bureaucrats have the larger
responsibility. In Pakistan it is the Military which
Pakistan Top Military Supplier
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are
implementing a $1.2 billion defense and military
cooperation agreement that paves the way for the
sale of aircraft, tanks, armored vehicles and
submarines to the Arab kingdom. Industry sources
said the defense cooperation agreement envisioned
Pakistani military sales to Saudi Arabia over the
next decade. The agreement would turn Islamabad into
a leading military supplier to Saudi Arabia, expand
Riyad's defense industry and deploy a Pakistani
brigade in the kingdom.
"The agreement does not
obligate Saudi Arabia to buy anything," said an
industry source. "But the Saudis have agreed to
examine Pakistani systems, upgrades and training for
all services of the military."
The accord was signed in 2003 and
implemented this year, sources said. The first deal
executed under the accord was the $34 million sale
of 20 Super Mashak air trainers to the Saudi Air
The first delivery of eight Super
Mashak trainers has taken place. The rest of the
aircraft are to be delivered by the end of this
Pakistani Aeronautical Complex
manufactured the aircraft.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have also
expanded military training and exercises under the
agreement. This week the two countries held their
first ground force exercise in Pakistan, reported to
have included tanks, armored personnel carriers,
artillery and other heavy weaponry.
The second stage of the defense and
military cooperation accord is expected to begin in
2005. In mid-2005, the Saudi Army is scheduled to
hold field trials of Pakistan's Al Khalid main
battle tank. The Saudi Army attended a field trial
in Pakistan in mid-2004 and agreed to procure at
least one Al Khalid for the trials in the kingdom.
The sources said the Saudi military
was considering the purchase of at least 100 Al
Khalid tanks, based on China's T-90 2M. The tanks
would be obtained at a much better price than a
French offer in 2003 for the Leclerc main battle
Pakistan has also offered Saudi
Arabia Al Hamza armored infantry fighting vehicles.
Al Hamza, based on the U.S.-origin M113, would be
equipped with anti-tank missile launchers.
Most of the Pakistani equipment
would not be directly transferred to the Saudi
military, the sources said. Instead, the tanks, APCs
and anti-tank missiles would be used to equip a
Pakistani Army armoured brigade in Saudi Arabia. The
sources said the brigade would arrive in the kingdom
in 2005 and help in border security.
The third stage of the defense
accord includes an examination of Pakistani warships
to Riyad. The sources said the Saudi navy has been
discussing the purchase of the Agosta-90B diesel
The accord envisions that Saudi Arabia would pay
for the weapons in oil exports to Islamabad. Saudi
Arabia is the leading oil exporter to Pakistan.