Rattled by the recent surgical strike carried out by the Indian Air Force jets on terrorist training camps in Balakot, Pakistan has decided to buy Russian-made Pantsir S-1 gun-missile air defense system, Indian Defence News reports.
Pakistan is now planning to send a delegation to Moscow to finalise the deal and also have an arrangement for training defence personnel to the Pantsir system. “Pakistan is buying the latest and most modern weapon system to counter India. Pakistan is eyeing to procure tank, anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missile system from Russia”, an Indian Defence Ministry official told Zee News.
Pakistan had already drawn up a plan to also buy 360 T-90 tanks from Russia to bolster its combat power along the border with India, apparently in the same MS version that form the backbone of some Indian armoured regiments, which makes Moscow the “winner” by selling the same tank to both enemies.
Pakistan is trying to forge a deeper defence corporation with Russia, which has been India’s ‘all-weather’ ally and shares a defence relationship that goes back to the Soviet era, Indian Defence News comments. Pakistan trying for closer ties with Russia is evident from joint military exercises along with defence deals which have triggered concerns in New Delhi.
In another effort to revamp its armoured fleet, Pakistan has decided to buy nearly 600 tanks with Chinese help. At present, over 70 % of Pakistani tanks have night-time operational capabilities, which is a concern for India. In the aftermath of the growing international pressure on Pakistan to reign in Islamist groups active on its soil, China has decided to come in support of its ‘all-weather ally’. China will sell long-range CH-4 and CH5 Rainbow drones to Pakistan. The CH-4 can carry up to 400 kilograms of explosives and can stay in the air for 40 hours. It can cover a range of up to 5,000 kilometres. Rainbow CH-5 can carry up to 1,000 kilograms of military load and stay in the air up to 60 hours. The drone can fly at up to 17,000 feet.
In February 2019, the Indian Defence Ministry had approved the acquisition of 54 Israeli Harop drones for the Indian Air Force which can crash into high-value enemy military targets to destroy them. The IAF has an inventory of around 110 of such drones which have been renamed as P-4. But Pakistan did not have any long-range combat drone until now.