Amid spiraling debt and economic instability, Pakistan is increasingly modernizing its defense armor to bolster its conventional military.
The move is seen as a natural step after the Taliban government – widely considered as Pakistan’s ally- took over Afghanistan.
Earlier, the country focused more on the counter-insurgency operations against the terror groups like Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), which operated from Afghanistan.
“The expansion of Taliban and other militant activity, particularly in regions along the border with Afghanistan which are inaccessible to heavy vehicles, focused the army on counterinsurgency. It was a budgetary decision, backed by tactical pragmatism,” explained former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad Brian Cloughley.
“But it was acknowledged that as counterinsurgency wound down, so could armor programs be reinstituted,” he added.
Focus on Armor Modernization and Procurement
The country has increased its defense allocation to 1.37 trillion Pakistani rupees for the financial year 2021-22, marking an increase of 6.2 percent.
Last month, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had reiterated that the focus of the Army was on enhancing conventional capability including “Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance air defense and cyber and mechanization.”
The country is tapping its two close allies- China and Turkey- for procuring advanced military drones.
As per sources, this year Pakistan Air Force is acquiring two Chinese remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicles Wing Loong-II, one ground control station and other associated equipment worth $44.4 million.
Pakistan has also shown keen interest in buying Turkey’s autonomous rotary-wing attack Kamikaze drones called ‘Kargu’, which have a range of 10km and can carry six rockets at a time.