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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

1001 inventions by Muslims

Pakistan has discarded any opposition to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project

Pakistan has discarded any opposition to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project from western capitals and insisted on following the Peace Pipeline schedule.

Iran and Pakistan agreed in principle to complete a long awaited multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project by 2013.

The agreement was reached in an operational-level meeting between the two sides on August 31.

Mahmood Salim Mahmood, Secretary of Pakistan's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources told reporters the two countries would initiate the project as it was scheduled.

“The deal will be launched according to its timetable,” he said. “It does not allow the Pakistani government to sell imported gas from Iran to a third party.”

"Pakistan plans to generate 4,600 megawatts of electricity with Iranian natural gas," he added.

While Pakistan has been facing an electricity shortfall of more than 3,000 megawatts leading to frequent and lengthy blackouts in the country, it has been under pressure from Washington to abandon the deal.

The 2,600-kilometer (1,615-mile) gas pipeline was originally proposed to transfer Iran's gas to the Indian subcontinent.

Although currently Pakistan and Iran are the sole signatories to the gas deal, Islamabad says that India can join the project later on

US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson discussed the contents of an angry letter she wrote to the Jang Group, Pakistan’s largest media conglomerate

dding fuel to an already serious diplomatic fire, US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson discussed the contents of an angry letter she wrote to the Jang Group, Pakistan’s largest media conglomerate. Ambassador Patterson accused Jang of spreading “wildly incorrect” information and said the group had “compromised the security of Americans.”
Patterson’s very public clash with Jang was brought to the attention of much of Pakistan late last week, when she managed to get Jang’s “The News International” newspaper to pull the weekly column of top analyst Dr. Shireen Mazari over the article’s reference to Blackwater contractors operating in Pakistan on the behalf of the US government. The article wasmade available on the paper’s website, but was not published.
The pulling of the article caused a major stir in Pakistan’s blogosphere, with many seeing the US embassy’s ability to block coverage of a story as an ominous sign of America’s growing influence in the impoverished, war-ridden nation. Ambassador Patterson made it clear, however, that her problems with Jang did not begin and end with the article, and said she objected to the content of two popular talk shows on the group’s Geo TV station, which she accused to spreading “conspiracy theories.”
Last month, a poll conducted by Gallup showed that a majority of Pakistanis had identified the United States as the biggest threat to the nation, and there is a growing sense among Pakistanis that the nation’s recent military offensives are more for America’s benefit than for their own.
And while Ambassador Patterson has denied that any Blackwater employees are in Pakistan, former CIA officials had conceded only a few weeks ago that Blackwater was responsible for all the security on Pakistan’s Shamsi Air Base, from which US drones are launched.
As the US continues to expand its embassy in Islamabad and its war in Afghanistan, the conspicuous US presence is only going to fuel more unrest. Whether this will mean a growing clash with Pakistan’s private media over reporting on its activities, however, remains to be seen.

. 'Ishrat Jahan encounter by Gujarat cops was fake'

Calling China's Bluff

RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review.

The recent remarks of the outgoing Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, where he ascribed China's economic and military prowess as beyond India's reach,  is misplaced and exaggerated given China's present and evolving tangible and intangible assets.

In fact, the very endurance of the rise of China is under question on various counts. 

By all indications, China is a paranoid nation. It is so apprehensive about economic competition from India that it allowed some of its firms to produce fake Indian drugs and label them 'Made in India' for export,  especially to African countries.

Only a paranoid country transfers critical strategic assets like missiles and nuclear technology and wherewithal to another country in pursuit of its security and strategic ambitions. Pakistan and North Korea are two such nuclear proxies of China. The creation of third nuclear proxy state, Myanmar, appears to be imminent. There are analysts who maintain that 'Pakistan's nuclear programme' should correctly be called 'China's nuclear programme in Pakistan.'

China is so-ill reputed for its proliferation activities that one is compelled to believe that had it not been for its own problems in the Xinjiang region,  it would have not hesitated to provide nuclear weapons or technology to the Taliban or the Al-Qaeda.

A delinquent country, which believes in proliferation, cannot aspire to be a respectable entity in the international arena.

China's internal situation is explosive not only in terms of the ethnic unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet, but in the Chinese hinterland, where there is a complete media blackout and no foreigners are allowed.  If China is truly a great, unified and prosperous country, then why is it so opaque? Why does it  block internet sites? Why does it gag the press, and fudge figures about its economy? Why the inability to manufacture world-class conventional weapons such as tanks, aircraft, destroyers and submarines?

The large imports of arms from Russia in the recent years are also reflective of its technological inadequacies. When the Chinese leaders talk of 'pockets of excellence', it is a tacit admission that their  scientific and technological development is not well rounded.

Many scholars credit ancient China with the invention of the compass, maps and gunpowder. Such pioneering inventions and innovations usher in revolutions in military spheres, described as a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA).

Contemporary China has no such distinctions or achievements in military technology. It is only catching up with the inexorable technological agenda set by the western countries. Technological inventions and innovations cannot be a product of a fiat or diktat. They evolve under a given political, social and economic environment. Countries, which try to reach up to the shifting benchmark and rely on reverse technologies, can at best be second- best. China's manned space flight in October 2003 came more than 40 years after the erstwhile USSR and the US achieved it.

Chinese products and goods that once threatened to swamp the world markets, failed to inspire confidence because of their doubtful quality and durability. Most of the countries that have imported weapons and equipment from China are bedeviled with their low serviceability rate.

Recently a Chinese strategic commentator suggested that China should balkanize India into 26 parts. The fact of the matter is that barring the border skirmish with newly independent India in 1962, China has been a humiliated empire,  never winning any military engagement in its history.

In 1850, Tsarist troops had invaded Manchuria. In 1864, France had colonized Cochin China (Southern Vietnam). In 1884-85, Britain took Burma and the Russians penetrated into Chinese Turkestan (modern day Xinjiang-Uygur autonomous region). In 1894-95, Japan defeated China and forced it to cede Taiwan and Penghu Island. The British sought and got further territorial concessions, like the 99 years lease of Hong Kong in 1898.

The foreign settlements in China had become sovereign pockets of territories with a menacing presence of warships and gunboats. Internally too, China was bleeding in the later half of 19th century. The Taiping Revolution, which was led by Hong Xiu Quan and lasted for 14 years (1851-64), claimed 30 million lives. Such was the debilitation of China that the Manchu ruler had to seek the assistance of British and French forces to crush the revolution.

The story of military humiliations of China, which began with the first Anglo-Chinese War, better known as Opium War (1839-1842), continued well into the first half of 20th century i.e. till World War-II. The allied expedition during the Boxer Revolution in 1900 in China in which many western missionary facilities were burnt and thousands of Chinese Christians were killed,  had left China comprehensively defeated.

In 1932, Japan had annexed Manchuria, which finally resulted in a full-scale war in 1937 which lasted till the end of World War-II. China's initiation of war against Vietnam in 1978 speciously on the plea “to teach it a lesson” turned out to be a miscalculated adventure.

Historically,  every 'ism' in China at some point or the other has fallen victim to disaffection, corruption, cronyism, and ideological degeneration. These were invariably followed by attempts at sweeping reforms.

In 1898, there was a bold attempt by Chinese Emperor Guangxu to root out corruption and introduce fundamental changes in broad range of activities and areas like academics, civil services exam system, agriculture and industry. The life of this reform process was only a 100 days,  and it is therefore referred to as the “100 Days Reform”. It failed because of the opposition from conservatives and gradualists. This has strong resonance during the present day reform and modernization period availing in China.

However in the current period, the opposition has been better neutralized, as the reform process has yielded speciously encouraging results. If it were to fail, communism may be become an ineffective glue,  as in the case of erstwhile USSR.

The same strategic commentator who suggested that China should Balkanise India also noted that Hinduism cannot unify India. India is a pluralistic country, where all religions are practiced with complete freedom. It has therefore thrived as an adaptable and flexible civilization. It is the nations which try and rob religion from their people which eventually breakup. This explains the paranoia of the Chinese authorities with the spiritual movement 'Falun Gong'.

But despite all its harsh measures, China has not been able to kill the religious and spiritual spirit of its citizens,  especially in Tibet and Xinjiang.

A global power must have a powerful navy with the force projection capability in at least two oceans. China is far from it. The superiority of the overall arms inventory of China vis-à-vis India is not reckoned to be anywhere near formidable when considered in qualitative and deployment terms.

For example, on paper the Chinese Navy inventory appears to be formidable. But more than 70 percent of it is of average or poor quality. The major chunk of the submarines belong to the Romeo class, whose endurance is limited and are only suitable for coastal defence.

What matters is the strength China can bring to bear against India. Its threat from east is rather precarious given the US direct and indirect presence in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. That is the reason it is paranoid about the growing military assertiveness of Japan and is loathe to see a united Korea, even as North Koreans are enslaved and starved by hereditary dictators in the name of communism.

Given these  robust external threats and internal contradictions, Beijing would do well to indulge in some deep introspection.

US embassy plans spur rumors, concern in Pakistan

America's plans for a major expansion of its diplomatic presence in Pakistan, including the possible takeover of a bombed luxury hotel near the Taliban heartland, have heightened tensions and bred rumors in a population rife with anti-U.S. sentiment.
Among the tales being floated: that 1,000 U.S. Marines will land in the capital, that Americans will set up a Guantanamo-style prison and that the infamous security contractor once called Blackwater will come in and wreak havoc.
The frenzy, much of it whipped up by the media and Islamist political parties, shows the difficulties for the U.S. as it seeks to increase its engagement in a country where a flourishing militant movement is threatening the war effort in neighboring Afghanistan.
The U.S. says it needs to expand mainly to disburse billions of dollars more in aid to Pakistan, an impoverished nation of 175 million people.
Pakistanis tend to view U.S. motives with suspicion, pointing to a history of American support for the country's past military rulers and involvement in its internal affairs, which they say has stunted the economy and democratic aspirations.
Others believe the U.S. is out to end Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, a source of domestic pride.
"Even an illiterate person knows that the Americans are against our nuclear program, and they will not miss any opportunity to destroy" the nuclear facilities, said Humayoun Qaiser, 23, a student at an Islamic university in Islamabad.
In recent weeks, several newspapers have published unconfirmed reports that 1,000 U.S. Marines will be posted at the U.S Embassy in Islamabad — which would be a significant jump from the nine there now. U.S. officials say at most the number may reach 20. Marine security guards are routine at U.S. missions abroad.
The head of the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami, which has demonstrated against the expansion, recently claimed that the U.S. also plans to build a Guantanamo-like prison, according to a newspaper report. The U.S. denies the claim.
Rumors aside, the embassy does plan to reconstruct the buildings on its 38-acre (15-hectare) compound and acquire an additional 18 acres (7 hectares), much of which will be used for apartments, embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said.
About 1,450 employees work for the embassy: 1,000 Pakistanis, 250 Americans posted to the site and another 200 Americans on short-term assignments. The plan is to add around 400 people, including about 200 more posted U.S. staffers, Snelsire said.
The major reason for the growth is a proposal in Congress to triple nonmilitary aid to Pakistan, he said.
The legislation would provide $1.5 billion a year over five years in humanitarian and economic aid. The goal is to improve education and other areas, thereby lessening the allure of extremism.
"There are Congressional demands for oversight of where that money is spent," Snelsire said, explaining the need for more personnel.
There are more modest expansion plans for consulates, including the one in Peshawar, the main city in the militant-riddled northwest. The State Department is searching for a new site for that consulate, long believed to be a key hub for American spies.
One possible location is the city's top hotel, the Pearl Continental, two senior U.S. officials confirmed in June, soon after the hotel was bombed. Taking such prime property, though, could provoke resentment.
Snelsire would not discuss which sites were under review.
He said the expansion would happen over five to seven years and stressed that many of the current facilities are old, decrepit or small.
Much of the negative press is being fueled by Islamist and other political parties who want to bring pressure on the government by portraying it as an American lackey, said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst.
He criticized the government's response.
"The government is showing a lot of ineptitude," he said. "They should not create the impression that they are helpless and they cannot tell the real story."
The United States has tried to stem the bad publicity by writing letters to newspapers and holding briefings for the Pakistani media, but rumors persist.
"There is a lot of, frankly, just misinformation out there, and it keeps getting published just over and over by a few journalists," Snelsire said.
One recent Internet account alleged the U.S. was bringing in private security contractors such as the company formerly known as Blackwater. Now called Xe Services, the firm's reputation was severely tarnished by reports of unprovoked killings in Iraq.
The blogger who wrote the account called Blackwater "the private U.S. mercenary army" and said that reports of "ill-mannered military-type Westerners misbehaving" was evidence the company was setting up in Pakistan.
Xe Services did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment. Snelsire would not discuss what kind of contractors the U.S. uses in Pakistan or whether it plans to add to those ranks. However, Pakistani media briefed by U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson said she denied Blackwater was operating in the country.

US Gets Pakistani Column Pulled Over Blackwater Report

The United States embassy in Pakistan reportedly managed to get the weekly column of a top critic of US policy pulled from the major English-language newspaper in Pakistan “The News International,” following a secret letter from Ambassador Anne Patterson to the newspaper earlier in the week.
The US embassy confirmed sending the letter but would not discuss its content. The newspaper’s editorial team said they were open to publishing the column at a later date, and indeed the article, entitled “Targeting Pakistan and Silencing the Critics” was made available on their website. Still, Pakistani media are saying that the embassy’s ability to block an article it found objectionable from a long-time critic of US policy is a sign of the enormous power the US wields in the nation.
Dr. Shireen Mazari, the author of the article, was interviewed on Iranian state media regarding what she called US censorship, and appeared to be not particularly surprised by the turn of events, though she insisted all the claims she made in the article also appeared in Western media sources, including Deutsche Presse-Agentur. She also vowed to continue her criticism of US policy, insisting “the Americans can’t gag me in my own country.”
Though Ambassador Patterson’s specific objections have not been made public, and she told The News not to publish her letter of complaint, it is widely assumed that Dr. Mazari’s references to Blackwater contractors being used on Pakistani soil was the source of the most vociferous objections.
A member of the opposition Tehreek-e Insaf party, Mazari was the director of a top foreign policy think-tank funded by the Pakistani government, though she was eventually removed from the position after what many in the Pakistani media believe was growing US pressure and warnings from the embassy that so long as she held the position they would treat her comments as official policy.
Following the furore over Dr. Mazari’s column, the Pakistani government officially denied that any Blackwater personnel were in the country, and insisted rules were in place to prevent such a thing happening. The US embassy declined comment, but last month former CIA officials revealed that the company had in fact been providing security on a Pakistani air base from which CIA drones were flown.

Pakistan: US Ambassador Forces Newspaper to Censor US Critic

US Ambassador In Pakistan Forces A Newspaper To Censor A Known US Critic
Finally, the Americans take their revenge.  Dr. Mazari single-handedly threw cold water on Washington’s plan last year to send a rabidly anti-Pakistani US army general as defense attaché to Islamabad.  The Pakistani government quietly accepted the appointment.  But Dr. Mazari broke the story and aborted the plan.  When the new pro-US elected government seized power, Mr. Zardari’s special assistant Husain Haqqani’s first order of business was to fire Dr. Mazari from her official post.  And now the US ambassador succeeds in blocking her column.  Welcome to the Banana Republic of Pakistan where soon US ambassadors will have the right appoint presidents and prime ministers.  Some say they already do.
United States Ambassador Anne W. Patterson intervened with one of the largest newspaper groups in Pakistan to force it to block today a decade-old weekly column by a prominent academic and critic of US policies.
Dr. Shireen Mazari, the former director of the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies and a mordant critic of US blunders in Pakistan and the region, was stunned when her column failed to appear in today’s edition of the newspaper.  This happened after the US ambassador sent a ‘private’ letter to the management of The News International, one of the largest English-language dailies of Pakistan.
This is a new high for American influence inside Pakistan.
Never before did a US ambassador manage to force such a change in a newspaper’s policy.  For those who are new to Pakistan, this is equivalent to having Maureen Dowd or Tom Friedman’s column knocked off the pages of the New York Times because Dick Cheney does not like their criticism.
Unlike Ms. Patterson in Pakistan, her colleague in London, ambassador Louis Susman, could never dream of achieving a similar feat by, say, convincing The Times of London to block a column by David Aaronovitch.  Or the US ambassador in Moscow, John Beylre, Jr., who could never even think of forcing Komsomolskaya Pravda to do anything remotely similar.  They have Vladimir Putin in Russian who knows how to protect his country’s interest.
Only in Pakistan, where American meddling has reached alarming proportions and risks turning this second largest Muslim country and the world’s seventh declared nuclear-armed nation into another version of Latin America’s banana republics where Washington has been known to change governments at will.
The US achieved a feat last year when it forced the country’s military establishment under a weak and insecure Pervez Musharraf to strike a ‘deal’ to forgive the questionable illegal wealth and other criminal cases against several Pakistani political figures in order to help them come to power in exchange for supporting US policies in Pakistan.
Another major break for Washington is Pakistan’s acquiescence in the construction in Islamabad of what will soon become the largest US embassy in the world.  Recently, members of privately armed US militias have been spotted in Islamabad, in some cases roughing up Pakistani citizens, without the Pakistani government daring to take action.
But blocking Dr. Mazari’s column is a new high for American influence in Pakistani affairs.
She especially earned the ire of the Americans last year when she single handedly threw cold water on US plans to post a notoriously anti-Pakistan US army general to Islamabad.  It was March 2008 when the new pro-US government in Islamabad allowed Washington to post Major General Jay W. Hood as the Chief, Office of the Defence Representative in Islamabad.
But Dr. Mazari broke the news of the appointment through her column, creating an uproar and forcing the Pakistani government to reject the appointment.
Dr. Mazari held a press conference today at the Islamabad head office of Pakistan Justice Movement, or PTI, a political party headed by cricket star Imran Khan where she is a senior official handling foreign policy issues.
Ambassador Anne Patterson is reported to have sent a letter to the management of the newspaper protesting at Dr. Mazari’s writings, especially on the question of the presence of Blackwater and other private American militias on Pakistani soil.  Interestingly, Ms. Patterson said she did not want to see her letter published in the newspaper and insisted it be kept private.  It is also not clear if Ms. Patterson actually threatened legal action or other form of protest or pressure if the newspaper continued to publish Dr. Mazari’s columns.
The newspaper editorial team is said to be ready to publish the blocked column later, possibly with some editing.  Frankly, no one can blame a newspaper for protecting its interest when the very government of Pakistan seems incapable of protecting the national interest.  Had Pakistan had a truly nationalistic government in Islamabad, one that inspired confidence, I can imagine that any newspaper would have politely deflected undue pressure from a foreign diplomat.
But the very fact that the column failed to run marks a victory for the US embassy and a fresh sign of the growing US influence and meddling in Pakistan’s internal matters.
It is not clear if Ms. Patterson sought the permission of the Pakistan Foreign Office before directly contacting a Pakistani newspaper to exert pressure.
This is the fourth attempt by the US Embassy to silence Dr. Mazari, whose incisive political commentary based on her close brush with power corridors in Islamabad over the years has given the Americans and the Brits a constant headache.  Her columns are fodder for those who advocate a more nationalistic and Pakistan-centric approach in dealing with Washington instead of the current approach where the United States is reaping strategic benefits at the expense of Pakistan’s interests and stability.
In 2006, the US ambassador at the time, Ryan Crocker, is reported to have warned Pakistan’s foreign secretary Mr. Riaz Khokar, that he will consider Dr. Mazari’s writings to be reflective of official Pakistani thinking because Dr. Mazari was heading a think tank financed by the Foreign Office.  The US diplomat demanded Dr. Mazari, according to her, be removed from office or told to stop criticizing US policies.
The foreign secretary resisted the pressure and Dr. Mazari continued her policy discourse.  The interesting thing is that the first order of business for the present pro-US government in Islamabad after seizing power last year was to fire Dr. Mazari.
Her ousting was engineered by Mr. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington who is widely known in Pakistan as a staunch American apologist.  Many jokingly call him ‘America’s ambassador to the Pakistani embassy in Washington.’  So it was no surprise that Dr. Mazari was fired as soon Mr. Haqqani’s government came in power.
I personally faced a similar situation when a US diplomat telephoned me in November 2007 to accuse me of spreading anti-Americanism on the state-run PTV.  My crime was to start a series of talk shows discussing how our ally the US turned Afghanistan into a hub for anti-Pakistan forces in the region.  The lady US diplomat used a cheap trick to intimidate me when she asked, ‘Does Musharraf know what you’re doing?’
My answer was, ‘Does President Bush know when US media frequently runs anti-Pakistan articles?’
Dr. Mazari is not disheartened by this episode.  ‘They might have knocked me off this time,’ she told me today after her press conference, ‘but the last round will be mine. The Americans can’t gag me in my own country.’  And that is exactly what the newspaper, The News International, has assured her of.

Bangladesh Airforce need a new base in Cox’s Bazar

The prime minister has given directives to turn Cox’s Bazar airport into an advanced airbase for speedy dispatch of fighter planes, according to a paper presented by defence ministry officials to a parliamentary body on Sunday.
The report presented to the standing committee on defence said the ministry has also proposed allocating 25 percent of the annual defence budget to the air force until 2014 for its modernisation.
It further said that the government was moving to set up a radar station in Cox’s Bazar, followed by one in Barisal, to bring the country under radar coverage. The paper said the defence ministry had finalised the specifications for procuring a radar system for Cox’s Bazar. None of the standing committee members spoke to the press after the meeting. “We have not discussed anything newsworthy today,” defence committee chairman Idris Ali told reporters at the parliament building.
The paper tabled at the meeting by defence ministry officials said, “As per the directives of the Prime Minister, preparation for turning the Cox’s Bazar air port into an advanced air base is on. “The ministry is coordinating with the civil aviation authorities of Bangladesh to stretch the existing runway and build [other facilities].”
Ministry officials said in their report that the deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar had already taken measures to acquire land for the purpose. The report also said the ministry had drafted short-term, mid-term and long-term plans to modernise the air force. “As per the short-term plan, 25 percent of the annual military budget can be given to the air force until 2014. “Or a special budget allocation can be made to install vital instruments for modernisation of the air force,” it said.
“Short-range and mid-range surface-to-air-missile (SAM) system can be procured to secure the air force’s installations as mid-term measures (from 2014 to 2021),” said the report. It also said the existing A-5, FT-6 and F-7 fighter planes could be replaced in phases in the long-term. “After 2021, measures can be taken to purchase new planes for the air force’s three squadrons,” said the defence ministry paper. PM wants fighter base at Cox’s Bazar: report

Pakistan Ordnance Factories and French Company signs MOU on rocket technology

Pakistan Ordnance Factories and a French company  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on upgrading the capabilities of 122 mm rockets used by the Pakistani armed forces on the sidelines of the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition which opened in East London Tuesday.
The MOU was signed on behalf of POF by its chairman Lt.General Shujaat Zamir Dar and by David Quancard, president, Roxel company, which is a leading French company dealing in rocket technology. Federal Minister for Defence Production Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi was also present on the occasion.
The contract when materialised will help Pakistan armed forces to enhance the firing range of the present stock of 122 mm rockets in its arsenal from its current range of  20 kilometres to 40 km and beyond.
The French company chief sales executive Francis Rodriguez speaking to the media said the present Pakistani rockets are equipped with the Russian technology and are quite outdated and once actual agreement is signed with his company, the induction of new technology will not only increase the range but make the weapon more lethal and effective.
He said POF is manufacturing defence equipment of international standard and his company trust the Pakistan technology and  is happy to assist POF in bringning further new advancements.
Rodriguez said since the induction of a democratic government in Pakistan, its relations with France has deepened and both President Asif Ali Zardari and Nicholas Sarkozy are keen to see that these are further consolidated in all fields particularly in the defence sector. France is already a major defence supplier to Pakistan including Mirage warplanes and submarines and other equipment for its forces. Associated news agencies

Pakistan's Defense Industry Goes High Tech

U.S. Army Gen. William Westmoreland is reported to have said: "On the battlefield of the future, enemy forces will be located, tracked and targeted almost instantaneously through the use of data links, computer-assisted intelligence and automated fire control. … I am confident the American people expect this country to take full advantage of its technology–to welcome and applaud the developments that will replace wherever possible the man with the machine." It seems that this vision from the 1970s is being realized today. One manifestation of it is the development and deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles by many nations, including Pakistan.
The growing reliance onarmed drones(aka predators) by Americans in Afghanistan and Pakistan's FATA region to target militants has been making headlines with increasing casualties. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Drones designed and manufactured in Pakistan have also been making news since IDEAS 2008 event in Karachi, Pakistan held in November of last year. Integrated Dynamics, a privately held Pakistani company that drew attention at IDEAS 2008 expo, is a developer and manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Integrated Dynamics is a full-service UAV systems provider based in Karachi, Pakistan. The company has been in business since 1997 and designs and integrates UAV systems primarily for the Government of Pakistan, the Pakistan armed forces and export. The company says they are committed to the use of the UAV system as a scientific and defensive tool that can be used to save lives and monitor potentially hostile environments for human personnel. The company also makes drones such as the turbojet-powered Tornado decoy, which can fly up to 200 kilometers, and emit false radar signals to "confuse enemy air defenses into thinking they are attacking aircraft," according to Defense News of Pakistan.
In addition to supplying drones to Pakistani military, the company exports its products to Australia, Spain, South Korea and Libya and the United States. The US homeland security department uses its Border Eagle surveillance drone for border patrol duties. Integrated Dynamics' products cost only a fraction of the cost of comparable products made in the United States and Europe. ID UAV prices start from about $ 20,000 while comparable UAV products made in the West start from about $ 200,000, according to the Karachi-based company. The ID models have operational range of 20 to 1600 kilometers.
Integrated Dynamics began developing the Firefly mini-rocket UAV in late 2004 in response to Pakistani army operational requirements for a high-speed, short-range observation system that could be used in the high-altitude environments of northern Pakistan. A basic system costs around $3,000 and comprises four rockets, a launcher, a carry case, datalink and a PDA-based ground control station.The UAV company is an example of a new generation of private defense companies in Pakistan that have grown with the emerging needs of Pakistani military and export opportunities to both military and civilian sectors abroad.
Arms as Pakistan's Cottage Industry
Pakistan has a long history of arms manufacturing as a cottage industry. The dusty little town of Darra Adam Khel,only a half-hour drive from Peshawar, reminds visitors of America's Wild West. The craftsmen of this town are manufacturers and suppliers of small arms to the tribal residents of the nation's Federally Administered Tribal Areas who carry weapons as part of their ancient culture. The skilled craftsmen of FATA make revolvers, automatic pistols, shotguns and AK-47 rifles. Until five years ago, the list also had items such as anti-personnel mines, sub-machine guns, small cannons and even rocket launchers. Pakistani government has forced the tribesmen to stop making heavy assault weapons to try and prevent the Taliban and Al Qaeda from getting access to such weapons.
Pakistan's arms industry has come a long way from making small arms as a cottage industry in the last few decades. The US and Western arms embargoes imposed on Pakistan at critical moments in its history have proved to be a blessing in disguise. In particular, the problems Pakistan faced in the aftermath of Pressler Amendment in 1992 became an opportunity for the country to rely on indigenous development and production of defense equipment.
Pakistan's Military Industrial Complex
The country now boasts a powerful industrial, technological and research base developing and manufacturing for its armed forces and exporting a wide variety of small and large weapons ranging from modern fighter jets, battle tanks, armored vehicles, frigates and submarines to unmanned aerial vehicles and high tech firearms and personal grenade launchers for urban combat. Some of these items were on display at IDEAS 2008, the 5-day biennial arms show held November last year in Karachi, Pakistan.
Pakistan has become an increasingly important player in the world arms industry, a global industry and business which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology and equipment. Arms production companies, also referred to as Defense Contractors, produce arms mainly for the armed forces of nation states. Products include guns, ammunition, missiles, military aircraft, military vehicles, ships, electronic Systems, and more. The arms industry also conducts significant research and development. Pakistan's major defense manufacturing companies are owned and operated by Pakistan's military. According to Business Monitor, Pakistan's defense industry contains over 20 major public sector units (PSUs) and over 100 private-sector firms. The majority of major weapons systems production and assembly is undertaken by the state-owned PSUs, while the private-sector supplies parts, components, bladed weapons and field equipment. Major PSUs include the Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF), Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) and the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory. Multinational presence in Pakistan is limited, although joint production or engineering support in the development of certain armaments has recently occurred with companies such as DCN International and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group.
IDEAS 2000, Pakistan's first major arms show, was organized after former President Musharraf assumed leadership of the country in the wake of the 1999 bloodless coup that toppled the Nawaz Sharif government. At the show, the former president emphasized the need to grow Pakistan's defense industry and private sector involvement in R&D, manufacturing and marketing of arms. Held every two years since the year 2000, the show has become a runaway success. It has helped Pakistan and other friendly nations to show off their wares, find customers, share knowledge, build bilateral partnerships, encourage scientific innovation and learning among young people and made visitors and Pakistani citizens more aware of the role defense industry plays in national defense and economy. Held in November last year, International Defense Exhibition and Seminar 2008 attracted 256 companies including 162 foreign and 94 Pakistani companies. Among the largest foreign pavilions, Turkey had 28 companies and United States had 22. Other major exhibitors came from China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Among other products, Pakistani companies showed off JF-17 fighter plane built by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in partnership with China's Chengdu Aircraft, Al-Khalid main battle tank, POF eye capable of shooting around corners and launching grenades in urban combat, and a variety of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) designed, developed and built in Pakistan.
World Arms Market
It is estimated that yearly, over 1 trillion dollars are spent on military expenditures worldwide (2% of World GDP). Part of this goes to the procurement of military hardware and services from the military industry. The combined arms sales of the top 100 largest arms producing companies amounted to an estimated $315 billion in 2006. In 2004 over $30 billion were spent in the international arms trade (excluding domestic arms sales). Many industrialized countries have a domestic arms industry to supply their own military forces. Some countries also have a substantial legal or illegal domestic trade in weapons for use by its citizens. The illegal trade in small arms is prevalent in many countries and regions affected by political instability.
Pakistan's Arms Business
In a July 2008 interview with Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Major General Mohammad Farooq, Director General of the Defense Export Promotion Organization, indicated that collaboration with the United States had increased in manufacturing armored personnel carriers "with transfer of technology". There have been unconfirmed reports that Pakistan is manufacturing Humvees for the US military in Afghanistan. General Farooq also claimed that Pakistan's defense exports have tripled to around $300 million because of the quality of its ammunition, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket launchers and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. He said exports to South Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries had increased significantly. It has been reported that Sri Lanka has purchased cluster bombs, deep penetration bombs and rockets and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from Pakistan.
General Farooq said optical instruments like night vision devices, laser range-finders and designators, laser threat sensors, artillery armor mortars and munition, mine detectors, anti-tank rifles, missile boats, different types of tear gases, fuses of unarmed vehicles, security equipment and sporting and hunting guns were also being manufactured in Pakistan. "The fuses are being purchased by countries like Italy, France and Spain," he said.
In reply to a question, he said Pakistan's military exports were higher than India's. "Indians started working on Arjun tank but, they are yet to induct it in their army, while Pakistan has built and handed over Al Khalid tank to the army, although it started the program later," he said.
Lately, Pakistan has come under severe criticism by human rights groups for being a leading manufacturer and exporter of land-mines, cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions.
High-Tech Aerial Warfare
The three main branches of Pakistani military are evaluating UAVs made in Pakistan and the rest of the world for purchase and deployment. Pakistan has been eager to boost its capabilities for high-tech aerial warfare and restructure and reorient its military to respond to the new and emerging challenges of combating insurgents. A number of public and private sector companies have been engaged in research, development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles as a part of this initiative. The public sector companies include Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Air Weapons Complex and National Development Complex.
Here's a brief run-down of the status of Pakistan's three military services as gleaned from Jane's and other publications:
Pakistan Air Force
As part of its effort to go high-tech, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will formally induct unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into service for the first time in 2009, the chief of the PAF has told Jane's. In addition to the Bravo+ UAV, which, according to PAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, has been built indigenously by Air Weapons Complex, the PAF will also receive the Falco UAVs produced by Selex Galileo of Italy. The two systems will be used mainly for aerial reconnaissance and information gathering, although the PAF will later also induct UAVs equipped with weapon systems to carry out offensive operations. "This capability we are developing fairly rapidly; we are becoming mature. It is part of our operations now and I look forward to seeing this in real operations by [the] beginning [of] 2009," ACM Ahmed reportedly told Jane's.
Pakistan Army
The Uqaab, Pakistan Army's drone designed and built by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, is the first step towards the eventual mass production of a Pakistani UAV. Technical details shared by Pakistani officials suggest that the Uqaab can fly at an altitude of about 15,000 ft and is equipped with day- and night-vision equipment. There have been unconfirmed reports that Pakistan has discussed with China the possibility of further developing the Uqaab to carry a weapons payload, according to Jane's.
Pakistan Navy
Pakistan Navy is reportedly interested in deploying vertical takeoff and landing UAVs on its ship. As a part of its plans to purchase and deploy UAVs, the Pakistani navy has completed trials of Austrian Schiebel Camcopter S-100 and Swedish made Cybaero autonomous VTOL UAVs from a Pakistani frigate in the Arabian sea in April 2008.
Pakistan's UAV Industry
Growing interest by Pakistani military and foreign companies and governments has helped spawn several private Pakistani UAV companies specializing in air-frames, launch and propulsion, flight control, tele-command and control systems, signal intelligence, training simulators, etc. Some of the private companies involved in UAV development and manufacturing include Integrated Dynamics, East-West Infinity, Satuma and Global Industrial Defense Solutions. Between the public and private sector UAVs developed in Pakistan, there is a long list of products including Bravo and Uqaab by Air Weapons Complex, Heliquad by East-West Infinity, Nishan Mk1 , Vision MK1 , Vision MK2 , Nishan TJ 1000, Tornado, Border Eagle, Hornet, Hawk, Hawk Mk1, Shadow and Vector by Integrated Dynamics Pakistan, Flamingo, Jasoos and Mukhbar by Satuma Pakistan , Bazz and Ababeel by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. These products vary in payload type, size and weight, engine types, range, flying altitude, endurance and launch and recovery systems. Growing domestic and international demand and increasing competition among suppliers is expected to produce significant improvements in capabilities and quality of the UAV products offered by Pakistani companies. In addition to Integrated Dynamics described above, here are three more UAV companies in Pakistan:
East-West Infinity:
One of the companies at the forefront of UAV development is East West Infinity (EWI). EWI's latest products are the Heliquad micro tactical UAV and the Whisper Watch signals intelligence (SIGINT) package.
The Heliquad was first displayed in prototype form at the IDEAS2006 defense exhibition. Equipped with a tiny camera, it can relay pictures back to troops or special forces in an urban environment or in the field, giving them a tactical reconnaissance capability. Being exceptionally small and powered by four electric motors, Heliquad is highly stealthy and represents the cutting edge of EWI's electronics miniaturization. SIGINT has become more important with ongoing anti-terrorism operations on the western front and in the tribal areas. Designed for militaries unable to afford high-end, dedicated SIGINT platforms, the company says its Whisper Watch platform is most effective when aerostat-mounted, as the platform is stationary and airborne for longer.
Satuma (Surveillance and Target Unmanned Aircraft), founded in 1989, is small UAV specialist company based near Islamabad, Pakistan. Satuma products include Flamingo, Jasoos and Mukhbar UAVs. Its biggest customer is Pakistan's military.
Global Industrial Defense Solutions:
GIDS, the largest of the private defense sector companies, has a UAV division, which produces a whole range of operational and training UAVs.Its biggest customer in Pakistan's military. The UAVs developed by GIDS have been extensively flight tested by military. GIDS ground control stations have an interactive and user friendly interface, where flight parameters and auto-pilot mission planning, and execution is done in addition to reception of high-enbd crisp quality video transmitted over an encrypted digital link.
Headed by a retired PAF Air Vice Marshall, GIDS has emerged from a combination of 7 Pakistani private defense companies that include AERO (Advanced Engineering Research Organization), IDS (Integrated Defense Systems), MSL (Maritime Systems Pvt Limited), ACES (Advanced Computing and Engineering Solutions), IICS (Institute of Industrial Control Systems), ATCOP (AI-Technique Corporation) and SETS (Scientific Engineering and Technology Solutions). Other than UAVs, its major products include anti-personnnel, anti-armor, incendiary, anti-runway, electronic impact and time-based fuses, electronic warfare equipment, navigation systems, optical fiber and optical fiber cables. Anti-tank Wire Guided Missile System known as "Baktar Shiken" made by IICS, a component of GIDS.
Pakistan's growing defense industry is going high tech to keep up with the challenges of a changing world that requires advanced weapons and new strategies to maintain peace and stability in a hostile neighborhood. At the same time, Pakistan's defense industry is contributing to scientific, technological, industrial and economic development of the nation by training and employing thousands of citizens. The investments made in defense production are a good bargain for the companies, their investors and the taxpayers of Pakistan to help ensure the nation's economic, political and national security against both internal and external threat