Technology transfer

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IDEAS-2016 has surely proved to be a productive event as it led to signing of some important Memorandums of Understanding between Pakistan and some other countries for supply of defence equipment. Apart from new state-of-the-art weapons that Pakistan displayed for the first time in the expo and which invoked interest of foreign delegates, the country also succeeded in clenching orders for supply o 52 Super Mashak aircraft to Turkey and an understanding with Ukraine for upgrading of Al-Khalid battle tank being manufactured in Pakistan.
These are the deals that have been announced but we are sure going by the quality of the defence products of Pakistan and their price competitiveness with similar products of other countries, we would get orders from many countries for purchase of defence equipment. However, the most striking aspect of all the deals for acquisition of defence arms and equipment is a clause for transfer of technology. This is important as in the past despite contractual obligations foreign suppliers did not bother to transfer technology depriving Pakistan of real benefit of many deals. It is because of lacklustre attitude of our officials and leaders concerned that Pakistan has become a mere consumer and not producer and as a consequence it spends enormous foreign exchange on import of finished parts and products. There are also considerations that our policy and decision-makers should keep in mind to safeguard interests of the country. In addition to high costs, the technologies transferred by technology-developing organisations are obsolete or about to be obsolete in near future. Our seriousness for technology transfer could be gauged by the fact that a National Centre for Technology Transfer was created in 1993 but abolished soon due to unknown reasons. The State Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain may look into the issue in a wholesome manner if he is really serious in meaningful technology transfer.