Pak-built Agosta submarine up for sale


Pak-built Agosta submarine up for sale

A milestone in defence production

By Masood Anwar

KARACHI: Pakistan has achieved a huge milestone in defence production, and would offer a newly built state-of-the-art Agosta 90-B submarine for sale, at the IDEAS 2000 exhibition to be held from Monday, at the Expo Centre.

However, the prestigious missile series including Hataf, Anza, Ghori and Shaheen are exclusively meant to boost the defence of the country and hence, not to be offered for trade.

This was disclosed by Air Commodore Mansoor Malik, Director, Policy Planning and Development of Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO), to The News during the press briefing of IDEAS 2002 – the second International Defence Exhibition and Seminar – here on Saturday.

The highly sophisticated submarine of world class classification could be seen at the sprawling Pakistan Naval Dockyard at Karachi Harbour, said the official who was reluctant not to spell out its price and other secret logistics.

“We would market the Agosta 90-B as Pakistan has the technology and license to manufacture and sell it,” the confident looking DEPO official whispered while sitting next to this scribe at the briefing.

However, he said; that missile programme is solely for the country. Every thing is not for sale, he said. It is not the time for selling the missiles, he added. These are here, just for exhibiting and to show our skill in defence production, he said.

Similarly, the mirage aircraft are just for display, he informed. Pakistan has made various modifications in the aircraft and turned it into ‘as per our requirement’. “If any friend country desires to get our help for modifications, we are ready to provide our services,” he said.

Beside, several electronic instruments, night vision equipment and others, the major products for sale, are the K-8 advanced air trainer aircraft, Super Mushak primary trainer aircraft, Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar tanks, APCs and UAVs.

Pakistan has already exported the Mushak aircraft to Oman, along with arms and ordnance to the tune of $6 million. “Pakistan is now emerging as the international player in the world defence market,” Air Commodore Mansoor Malik said.

China is the major partner of Pakistan at all the three levels including the last level of research and development. While Turkey is the only partner of Pakistan that is not only exporting arms to Pakistan but also importing. The trade balance in defence export with Turkey is in favour of Pakistan, Mansoor said.

A big market also exists for Europe and the US for our game weapons and Pakistan is trying every opportunity to explore it, he said. The game weapons are manufactured in the Pakistani tribal area especially in the Darra area, he said. The DEPO has streamlined the weapon manufacturing in the non-organised sector in ‘Darra’ area and are fetching millions of dollars.

Before a visit of the ‘Expo Centre’, he highlighted the different aspects of the IDEAS 2002- during a press briefing. Pakistan has a great potential in the export of arms as it has hard core manufacturing and doesn’t rely on foreign agencies, he said.

To achieve the export target, we are reshaping market strategy, he stated. Asia is a big market for defence exports. That’s why we are concentrating on it, he said. The former chief of army staff General (retd) Jahangir Karamat chaired the topic of the seminar ‘Emerging Security Environment in Asia’.

Air Commodore Mansoor Malik told the newsmen that IDEAS 2002 is being held at a much larger scale than the last event. Prominent scholars from China, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, South Korea, Turkey, USA and Pakistan would be participating in the International defence seminar.

The IDEAS 2002 has not only been able to attract attention from trade professionals and manufacturers’, but also has attracted worldwide attendance of over 45 official delegations from more than 30 countries, he informed.

Besides, members of four royal families of Saudi Arabia, Brunei, United Arab Emirates and Oman are also coming to the city for this mega event, he said. In addition to these personalities, defence ministers and chiefs of armed forces from 19 countries have agreed to attend the exhibition.

The federal government plans to double the export target for arms and ordnance export from the existing $80-$85 million in the next year. He said that all the visiting delegates and dignitaries have been invited at the demonstrations, featuring aerial display of K-8, Super Mushak and RPVS, as well as demonstration of the firing capabilities of the land-based weapons including Al-Khalid Tank, Anza guided missile system and Baktar Shikan anti-armour weapon system.

Due to the tense situation at the borders, the aerial display of the mirage and F-16’s will not be included at the event. Aasim A Siddiqui, Chairman and Managing Director of Pegasus, the organisers and sponsors of IDEAS, in his presentation gave full details of the exhibitors.

Siddique said:

“IDEAS 2000 has now become an established biennial event and is the largest tri-service defence exhibition of its kind not only in Pakistan, but in the entire South-Asian region.”

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