BEIJING: A senior Chinese defense official has justified Beijing’s sale of warships and submarines to Pakistan on the ground that India was buying similar systems from Russia and the United States. He indicated that China was conscious India might be worried about the sales.
“The initiative may invite concerns from its neighboring countries. But the doubts are unnecessary,” Zhai Dequan, deputy director of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, was quoted as saying in the official media.
The statement came in the midst of efforts by Norman Bashir, chief of Pakistan’s
naval staff, to persuade Beijing to sell higher capacity ships as compared to the F22P frigates that China begun delivering last June.
Zhai said Pakistan’s desire for high capacity systems is normal for an independent nation seeking to bolster its security. India has also entered into large deals for military hardware from the US and Russia, he said.
“India’s aircraft carrier has already cost it billions of US dollars,” Zhai said.
Bashir, who met Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on Friday, said Pakistan was keen on buying bigger ships and more JF-17 fighter planes from China apart from the submarines. Pakistan will buy more weapons including missiles from China in future, he said.
“The F22P frigate is about 3,000 tons, and now we are talking about 4,000-ton ships. These are very big projects and we think the cooperation is important for both countries, especially Pakistan,” he said.
Pakistan booked four F22P frigates from China in 2005 and the first one began sea trials last year. Islamabad followed it up with another order of four more ships of same kind in 2007, the Chinese media said.
Bashir showered fulsome praise on Chinese warships saying they use the latest technology, and have the all-round capability to target surface ships, aircraft and submarine.
“The F22P frigate can be deployed to complete multitasks. The ship is balanced for offense and defense, and can be used in both peace and war time, if there is a war,” he said. This is his third visit to China this year.