NEW DELHI: The Sino-Pak military axis is now eyeing export markets in third countries in India’s neighbourhood and among Delhi’s traditional defence partners in Africa. The subject of Chinese fighter aircraft and other military hardware supplied to Pakistan for exports to third countries figured high on the agenda of Pakistan Army chief’s visit to Beijing last week, media has learnt.
ET has further learnt that Pakistan plans to sell batches of JF-17 Thunder fighters that it has built with Chinese assistance to India’s neighbour Myanmar and Nigeria, India’s old defence partner in Africa. Myanmar has already ..
Myanmar has already purchased four JF-17s through Chinese assistance. Pakistan also plans to export JF-17 to Malaysia and Azerbaijan as well as additional fighter jets to Nigeria, which now has three JF-17s, ET has learnt.
Interestingly, India has expanded defence partnerships with old and new partners in Africa, including Nigeria in recent months.
Pakistan has relied on Chinese military hardware for more than five decades, though Islamabad has US weaponry. But while the US is no longer a predictable defence equipment supplier for Pakistan, China remains consistent amid India’s defence modernisation plans and acquisition of modern system.
Technology transfers from China have allowed Pakistan to begin producing military hardware on its own. Pakistan is also increasingly foraying into the production of tanks and other equipment for land forces, thanks to technology transfers from China. The equipment could be exported to third countries in future as China is helping Pakistan create a more commercially-run defence industry, according to some reports.
“Pakistan’s reliance on Chinese military hardware will grow. China has signed a contract to supply eight new submarines to Pakistan’s navy… Although neither party has revealed the value of the contract, Western defence analysts say it could be worth from $4 billion to $5 billion depending on weapon systems and other add-ons,” according to a report in NikkeiAsian Review.
Besides traditional partners in eastern and southern Africa, western African states have also sought to deepen defence ties with India including training for its officers and joint defence exercises, ET had earlier reported. India and Africa plan to hold a comprehensive security dialogue in near future. The military to military ties are being revived as India seeks to emerge as a net security provider in Africa amid common challenges from terrorism and piracy.
India has had defence partnerships with Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia. Botswana, Uganda, Namibia and Mozambique, and is seeking to expand this to include more countries across the vast continent. It may be recalled that in the post-colonial Africa, India had assisted to set up military academy in Ethiopia, defence college and naval war college in Nigeria, besides setting up the air force in Ghana and training military personnel in a number of African countries.
Several army chiefs from Nigeria have been trained in India and Delhi is focussing on increasing joint military exercises with the African nations. (Agencies)