Need to tap de­fence pro­duc­tion po­ten­tial

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS -

PRES­I­DENT Mam­noon Hus­sain de­servess credit for high­light­ing is sues of core im­por­tance to the coun­try in his public ap­pear­ances and in­ter­ac­tion with gov­ern­men­tal au­thor­i­ties and for­eign in­ter­locu­tors. In line with this ap­proach, dur­ing a meet­ing with Min­is­ter for De­fence Pro­duc­tion Rana Tan­wir Hus­sain on Tues­day, he called for con­certed ef­forts to pro­mote and mar­ket the coun­try’s de­fence prod­ucts in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket to bol­ster ex­ports and strengthen the econ­omy.

De­spite var­i­ous odds and con­straints, Pak­istan has achieved not only self­suf­fi­ciency in sev­eral ar­eas of de­fence pro­duc­tion but also has the ca­pac­ity to ex­port the sur­plus. Ac­cord­ing to Jane’s De­fence Weekly, the coun­try sub­sti­tutes im­ported de­fence equip­ment worth over $ 1.5 bil­lion, which is a re­mark­able achieve­ment and speaks vol­umes about de­fence pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ex­port po­ten­tial. Pak­istan is cur­rently pro­duc­ing multi-role mod­ern air­craft JF-17, Mushak and Su­per Mashak train­ers, Al Khalid and Al Zar­rar tanks and a va­ri­ety of mis­siles be­sides APCs, small arms and medium-sized weapon sys­tems. Our de­fence pro­duc­tion in­dus­try is not only ful­fill­ing small arms re­quire­ments of the Armed forces but meets de­mands of sev­eral friendly coun­tries be­cause of ISO cer­ti­fied qual­ity and com­pet­i­tive prices. It is, how­ever, un­der­stood that there are lim­i­ta­tions on de­fence pro­duc­tion be­cause of fi­nan­cial con­straints and geo-strate­gic is­sues, which need to be ad­dressed if Pak­istan has to oc­cupy a place of promi­nence in the list of arms ex­port­ing coun­try. We have fer­tile minds and ba­sic in­fras­truc­ture is also there but what we need is al­lo­ca­tion of nec­es­sary funds for research and devel­op­ment. There are dozens of R&D or­gan­i­sa­tions but man­power there is sit­ting crossed-legs be­cause of lack of re­sources and proper plan­ning, which amounts to sheer neg­li­gence and wastage of even al­lo­cated funds for them. There should be closer col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween uni­ver­si­ties, R&D in­sti­tu­tions and the in­dus­try be­sides rig­or­ous ef­forts to en­ter into co­op­er­a­tive ar­range­ments with some of the friendly coun­tries for joint pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties. There is also need for ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing with the in­volve­ment of our mis­sions abroad if the Pres­i­dent’s ad­vice for bol­ster­ing ex­ports of de­fence prod­ucts has to be im­ple­mented in let­ter and in spirit.

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