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Pak-Turk joint defence production

TALKING to a Pakistani defence delegation, headed by Defence Minister Ch. Ahmad Mukhtar, in Ankara, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who is an ardent advocate of cementing strategic partnership with Pakistan, has floated the idea of initiating joint defence production projects between the two countries. He emphasized that the existing strategic partnership between Pakistan and Turkey provides an opportunity for joint ventures among defence production organs of the defence forces of the two countries.

According to defence analysts, heavy investment in defence industry during the last two decades has helped modernize Turkey’s military into a crack fighting force while reducing the country’s dependence on the costly imported weapons. Turkey’s defence products range from modern jet fighters and complex components of anti-aircraft missiles to high speed patrol boats to frigates to armoured vehicles to sophisticated air defence and electronic command and control systems. Pakistan too has attained self-sufficiency in defence production sector as indigenous facilities are not only fulfilling requirements of our armed forces but the surplus is exported to a number of friendly countries. Its defence products meet European and NATO standards and that is why its customers include countries like the United States. Last year, the country entered into agreements with six renowned international firms for joint ventures for manufacturing of modern weapons. Therefore, by combining their expertise and pooling their resources, Pakistan and Turkey can not only meet modern-day requirements of their armed forces but also fulfil needs of a number of Islamic and other countries. The Western suppliers, who are dominating the field, often impose conditions that impinge upon the sovereignty of the buyer States and, therefore, Turkey and Pakistan have great potential to turn their joint projects into profitable ventures. Of course, there are issues of financing but friendly Gulf countries can assist a lot, as these ventures could be of immense help to them as well. It is not for the first time that Turkey has offered joint ventures in defence production but response from our side has been very slow. Hopefully, this time the timely offer would be responded with the same spirit and practical steps would be taken to translate this dream into a reality for the benefit of the two brotherly countries.

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