DesPardes + PKonweb

JF-17s Three Strikes: Build, Battle, Export; Myanmar and Nigeria Latest Buyers

Iron Brothers boosting military ties; resolve to deal with risks and challenges together; reaffirm their commitment to building a ‘community of shared future in the new era’

DESPARDES REPORT — China’s all-weather support to Pakistan has enabled Islamabad to carry the proverbial ‘stand-by-me’ card with it all the time.

One example: China has enabled Pakistan to make and become a defense exporter of its locally made JF-17 fighter jets. Add to the two is their successful battle-test during Indian incursions in February/March.

India stands outflanked on this almost 3-to-1, according to one observer.

China also ended up having tested their JF-17, as Pak-manufactured Thunder. None so far were battle-tested elsewhere. The fighter jet now forms the backbone of Islamabad’s defense strategy.

Islamabad reportedly has sold JF-17 fighter jets to Myanmar and Nigeria.

The latest report dovetails previous ones on such efforts.

Iron brothers boost ties

Pakistan is also increasingly foraying into the production of tanks and other equipment for land forces based on technology transfers from China.

Similarly, Chinese military hardware is allowing Pakistan to expand its navy just as the two iron brothers seek to jump-start the Gwadar Port and the CPEC-related transportation infrastructure.

China has signed a contract to supply eight new submarines to Pakistan navy, the largest defense deal ever between the countries– it could be worth from $4 billion to $5 billion, analysts say.

Pakistan has relied on Chinese military hardware for more than five decades, while at the same time Islamabad has used every opportunity when offered, to purchase other defense equipment, notably from the U.S, and now Turkey.

In the coming years, Pakistan’s reliance on Chinese military hardware will grow. Last week, the two nations boosted their military ties post-Azad Jammu & Kashmir annexation on August 5 by India and reaffirmed their resolve to deal with risks and challenges together.

A Western diplomat based in Islamabad who spoke to Nikkei on condition of anonymity said the Sino-Pakistani relationship is anchored primarily on defense and security cooperation and that this cooperation is the key to holding Pakistan and China together.

A Pakistani observer says there’s been a step-up though. The iron brothers seek to build a ‘community of shared future in the new era’, and that’s multi-dimensional.