Defenceinfo Bureau Report
In the aftermath of reports regarding a cut in military aid to Pakistan by the US, to the tune of $800 million, Pakistan has not lost much time in calling upon its “close and effective defense ties” with China to “fill the gap”. Pakistani officials both military and government are now terming China as the most dependable ally who has played an increasing role in the past decade as the main supplier of military hardware. Pakistan is jointly producing the JF-17 Thunder fighter plane with China. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) plans to eventually introduce up to 250 of these planes to give a perceptible boost to its capability and the much needed parity with India. Pakistan is also in the process of negotiating for six new submarines from China. “I don’t think it’s wise for Pakistan to be playing down the importance of the U.S. as a partner, just because there have been some defense deals with China”, said a western diplomat. For India either option is critical since it leads to weaponisation of South Asia, which something that India has been advocating against for the past many decades. It is time to boost the diplomatic efforts to rein in Pakistan’s military ambitions.