Modern defence production

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PRESIDENT Dr Arif Alvi visited Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) on Tuesday and applauded its efforts to attain self-reliance through indigenization.

He was briefed on HIT’s technical capabilities, production activities, indigenization efforts, major Research and Development (R&D) projects and recently-undertaken initiatives to improve the industry’s efficiency.

The President appreciated the commitment of HIT to transform the organization into a modern defence production establishment so as to adequately meet the requirements of defence forces and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in line with international standards.

Indigenous defence production assumes special significance for a country like Pakistan which is grappling with security and existential issues ever since its inception in 1947 and the discriminatory treatment meted out to the country by some supplier states.

This became all the more evident during the country’s war with India when essential supplies including spares were withheld, which badly affected efforts and plans to safeguard the motherland against foreign aggression.

It was in this backdrop that the military planners emphasized the need for pursuing the path of indigenization of defence production and HIT was established in the early 70s with the objective of rebuilding the existing tanks but during the last four decades it has evolved into a large military industrial base, engaged in manufacturing and rebuilding of hi-tech equipment like tanks, APCs, guns and other security-related equipment.

Presently, it consists of six production units, an in-house development and component manufacturing facility and a leading R&D Centre.

Similarly, Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) has also become a backbone for the supply of world class small arms and ammunition to our defence forces.

Successes achieved in modernization and diversification of defence production including those by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Pakistan Navy (PN) are appreciable as these were gained despite a highly hostile atmosphere.

However, the technology and warfare tactics are evolving rapidly and it is a foregone conclusion that the country cannot spare enough resources to effectively meet the emerging challenges.

We have been hearing for a long time the proposals regarding involvement of the private sector in the defence production as well as initiation of joint ventures with some friendly countries of proven background but nothing of the sort has so far transpired.

Given commitment and sincerity of purpose, this is not impossible as Pakistan has technical know-how and it can attract funds from affluent friendly countries if appropriate and feasible projects are marketed.