Magazine article National Defense

Pakistan Pushing Military Exports

Magazine article National Defense

Pakistan Pushing Military Exports

Article excerpt

Pakistan's intent to become self-reliant in weapons production has resulted in recent years in the development of homegrown capabilities to produce military equipment-ranging from lasers to complex air defense systems and ammunition.

A number of government-owned companies oversee the process from research to manufacturing. Now, based on their success with the Pakistani military, these entities are pursuing a strong export market, officials told National Defense.

"We are trying to create a market for ourselves," said Mohammad Salman, the marketing director of the Institute of Industrial Control Systems, during a military show in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Exports only are directed to "friendly countries." and if the "government allows," he added.

But there is more behind Pakistan's desire to sell its weapons than making a profit. Through exports, Pakistan is trying to strengthen its industrial base and bolster its standing as a regional power, said David Isenberg, an arms control analyst with the British American Security Information Council in Washington, D.C. Pakistan has had a long standing feud with its neighbor, India, over the Kashmir region,

One of the government-sponsored conglomerates now pursuing an aggressive export campaign, especially in the Middle East, is the Institute of Industrial Control Systems. IICS designs and produces weapon systems for the Pakistani military, said Salman. The company has managed to sell its products to Saudi Arabia and is in negotiations with the United Arab Emirates, he said.

"Any conventional arms transfer from Pakistan needs to be looked at very carefully," said Matt Schroeder, an analyst with the Federation of American Scientists. "The international community needs to be aware of what is coming out of Pakistan." Countries, such as the United States and other NATO members, also need to make sure that Pakistan's export controls are rigorous, he cautioned.

Just last year, the father of that country's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted supplying nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

On the conventional weapons side, among the products the IICS is marketing internationally is the Anza MK-II surface-to-air missile, which travels at a speed of 600 meters per second, with a range of 5,000 meters. Another system is the Baktar Shikan, an advanced anti-tank guided missile with a range of 3,000 meters and anti-jamming capability. The system can be disassembled into four sub-units, each weighing no more than 25 kilograms, thus making the system man-portable. …

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