China is Pakistan’s “all weather friend” — China to build eight submarines for Pakistan — Plus: Pakistan Is Staking Everything on China


Islamabad: Pakistan will acquire at least eight modified diesel-electric attack submarines from China by 2028 in a nearly USD 5 billion agreement, said to be the biggest arms export deal for the Communist giant.

The head of Pakistan’s next-generation submarine programme and senior naval officials briefed the members of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence on 26 August regarding the deal worth approximately USD 4 to 5 billion, according to state-run media.

The statement made by naval officials to the committee members showed that the programme of next generation submarines was moving ahead, Radio Pakistan reported.

In April, a senior Pakistan Navy official had announced that Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) had secured a contract to produce four of the eight submarines, which will be fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems.

Often described as Pakistan’s “all weather friend”, China is expected to extend a long term loan to Pakistan at a low interest rate to cover the cost of the project, the report said.

It has not officially been confirmed what type of submarines will be supplied to the Pakistan Navy by the China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC) and there has been considerable speculation on the subject in the past.

Analysts speculate that the new submarines will be lighter export versions of the People Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) Type 039 and Type 041 Yuan-class conventional attack submarines.

The first four submarines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2023 while the remaining four will be assembled in Karachi by 2028.

These are expected to form the sea-based arm of Pakistan’s burgeoning nuclear second-strike triad.

China is Pakistan’s biggest supplier of military hardware which included battle tanks, naval ships as well as fighter jets. The two jointly manufacture J-17 Thunder warplane.

Pakistan’s submarine fleet comprises five Agostas — two Agosta70 and three Agosta90B — and three MG110 miniature submarines (SSI).

One of Agosta90B — Hamza (Khalid Class) — was indigenously constructed and commissioned in 2008 and another was partially completed here. The third was built in France.


Same topic, different source:


Pakistan Is Staking Everything on China

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has bet a huge chunk of its economic future on its alliance with China and a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project financed by Beijing, through which Pakistani authorities hope to solve the country’s chronic financial and energy problems.

In the past few decades, China has been Pakistan’s main ally, diplomatic protector and largest arms supplier; now, Beijing is seen as the financial savior of a country plagued by an Islamist insurgency, an economy dependent on international loans and a pressing energy shortage.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, is a trade route that will connect Kasghar, in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, with the Pakistani port city of Gwadar, providing the Chinese an opening into the Arabian Sea for trade.

The project, agreed to in 2013 and launched in 2015, involves the investment of $46 billion in infrastructure in Pakistan.

For Pakistan, China offers the best possible exit from instability and economic weakness, academic Andrew Small wrote in his recent book, “The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics.”

The CPEC offers Pakistan a solution to some of its biggest problems, including energy shortages and inadequate infrastructure, said Small, member of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

In a country where reaching a consensus is rare, there seems to be total agreement among Pakistanis regarding the Chinese project.

“It’s a kind of Marshall Plan, but instead of the United States reconstructing Europe after World War II, it is China reconstructing Pakistan,” a Pakistani businessman with 25 years of experience in the U.S. energy industry told EFE on condition of anonymity.

A large part of the CPEC investment focuses on constructing 24 energy projects, including 10 thermal power plants and several wind farms and solar plants, which will produce 17,000 MW of electricity.

Syed Aqeel Hussain, director of policy at the Alternative Energy Development Board, which is under the Water and Power Ministry, told EFE that the Chinese projects would end the energy crisis by 2018, providing a boost for industry, which, in turn, will help develop the economy.

“Even if only 70 percent of the plan is undertaken, there will a great change in the country,” Aqeel said.

The corridor also includes the construction or improvement of highways and railway lines to connect Gwadar with Kasghar, as well as other projects that involve universities and professional training centers.

Pakistan, moreover, expects the CPEC to create 700,000 jobs in a decade and help contribute to its GDP, which grew 4.7 percent in 2015.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year described relations with China as “deeper than the deepest sea, higher than the Himalayas, sweeter than honey and stronger than the strongest steel,” an expression that is habitually repeated in Pakistan to describe the bilateral relationship.

For China, the corridor offers an alternative to the Strait of Malacca for access to the West and is part of its communications network with the rest of the planet.

In addition, the CPEC is being built by Chinese firms and bankrolled by Chinese banks and investors.

“It’s a perfect pairing. We are experts at building power plants and other infrastructure that is lacking in Pakistan,” Zhui Jianjiang of Powerchina, a Chinese state firm that has many projects in Pakistan, told EFE.

According to U.S. research firm RAND, however, between 2001 and 2011, China announced investments in Pakistan to the tune of $66 billion, of which only 6 percent has materialized.

Moreover, the threat of violence lurks over the Pakistani-Chinese dream.

Gwadar is situated in Baluchistan, a province where armed separatist groups, Taliban factions and jihadist groups operate.

“Our biggest concern is security. We are protected by private guards, police and military. But, yet, we are concerned about violence,” Wang Xiaoyu, of the state-owned China Gezhouba construction company, told EFE.

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