03 Maret 2010

Pakistan Strengthens Relations with Indonesia and China

3 Maret 2010

CN-235 of the Pakistan Air Force (photo : XAirforces)

Pakistan has extended defence ties with Indonesia and China as part of its strategy to diversify military suppliers and industrial co-operation partners.

Statements issued by the Pakistan government on 25 and 26 February said that meetings between Pakistan defence officials and representatives from Indonesia and China would strengthen strategic relations.

The focus of meetings between Indonesian and Pakistani defence officials in Islamabad on 25 February centred on "resolving maintenance problems" with the CN-235 transport aircraft that the Pakistan Air Force purchased from Jakarta in 2004. Closer industrial collaboration on other projects was also discussed, said the statement.

Talks with Chinese officials took place in Beijing a day later as part of the 30th anniversary of the formation of state-owned Chinese defence prime China North Industries Group (Norinco).

A statement said that Pakistan and Norinco had entered "joint venture and joint production projects" in recent years, such as the production of the Al Khalid main battle tank.

Masood Khan, Pakistan's ambassador to China, said that Pakistan and Norinco were also "investing into areas of exploitation of mineral resources, petroleum, defence products, marketing, and research and development".

Pakistan's ties with Indonesia are indicative of an emerging trend that has seen Islamabad establish close defence relations with a number of largely predominantly Muslim nations over the past few years. Similar ties have been forged with Brunei, Jordan, Malaysia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

China, meanwhile, remains Pakistan's closest industrial partner with joint collaboration continuing on a number of platforms, including the Al Khalid tank, the JF-17 fighter and F-22P frigates.

Defence diversification is regarded as an important defence strategy in Islamabad because it remains wary of its relationship with the US, from which it currently procures the majority of defence equipment. The US has previously imposed sanctions on Pakistan throughout the 1960s and again in the 1990s.

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