IDEAS 2012: Pakistan, China to market Al-Khalid tank together

Published: November 12, 2012
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It is equipped with a 125mm gun and can fire sophisticated ammunition, missiles while stationary or moving. PHOTO: ONLINE / FILE

It is equipped with a 125mm gun and can fire sophisticated ammunition, missiles while stationary or moving. PHOTO: ONLINE / FILE

KARACHI: 

Pakistan is aiming to find international buyers for its prized Al-Khalid tank, after reaching an understanding with co-producer China to market the product together, a top military official said on Sunday.

Heavy Industries, Taxila, and Beijing’s Norinco signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect on Thursday during the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2012, Director General of Defence Export Promotion Organisation Major General Tariq Khan said.

“We are not in the business of selling t-shirts,” Khan said during the closing ceremony of the exhibition, as newsmen pushed him to justify claims about the event being a success. “It takes months and years of negotiations to seal the agreements. This MoU will help us a lot.”

“We have also received orders for our unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, which is used for intelligence gathering by police and military in different parts of the world,” he added.

The Al-Khalid tank was developed in the 1990s. It is equipped with a 125mm gun and has the capability to fire sophisticated ammunition including missiles in both stationary and moving conditions.

For years, Pakistan has been trying in vain to sell the product, while China is also marketing a variant of Al-Khalid. Joint marketing with China opens up potential markets that would otherwise have been difficult for Islamabad to penetrate into, officials said.  Under the deal, profit from the sale will be mutually shared.

Major General Khan said selling heavy equipment like tanks and aircraft is not easy as political considerations need to be taken into account. “At times even if a country wants to buy something, the deal breaks off because of some political angle.”

Foreign delegates who visited the exhibition will come back with requests to test the military gear and equipment in coming months, he said. “But I can assure you there has been a lot of interest in what we make.”

However, Khan said it was impossible to state in numbers the size of deals made during the exhibition.

Military officials involved in international defence trade say Pakistan is continuously being sidelined because of its geopolitical situation.

Meanwhile, Minister for Defence Production Sardar Bahadur Khan said another jointly developed product with China, the JF-17 Thunder fighter plane, will be marketed soon as well.

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM FARHAN ZAHEER)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • janamhussain
    Nov 12, 2012 - 2:54PM

    waste of time. waste of money. build some schools instead.

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  • janamhussain
    Nov 12, 2012 - 3:03PM

    waste of time and waste of money. surely profits made through selling instruments of death are unislamic. pakistan doesnt need to export weapons as well as terror. BUILD SOME SCHOOLS INSTEAD.

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  • Cautious
    Nov 12, 2012 - 3:59PM

    Tank is tough market to crack and China doesn’t have much of a reputation when it comes to tanks. By your own admission this tank can’t compete with the European or American tanks – not sure how much demand there is for an updated soviet T-70 tank. If this were a private business you would have a tough time raising the capital to fund this business plan.

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  • MSIbraheem
    Nov 12, 2012 - 4:36PM

    @ janahussainI guess schools will guard our borders then. Come on liberals, at least for once have something good to say about Pakistan or its defence arms. From an unbiased point of view I believe its quite awesome that Pakiland is finally exporting defemce equipment en masse.
    Id be proud to see a Pakistani MBT’s serving in foreign militaries ,considering the overlooked fact kay Al-Khalid is a modern MBT ,at par with the likes of the trumpeted T-90 and Abrams. Its got a 125mm main gun ,12.7mm secondary army , a1200hp engine and capacity to use Depleted Uranium penetrators ,Shaabash ,way to go boys !!

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  • enlighten moderate
    Nov 12, 2012 - 6:04PM

    The 180 degree movement of turrent is really innovative and got Saudis very interested back in 2004 because of this feature. Another great feature is ability to use its machine gun from inside.And 3 personel are enough to operate this machine.

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  • enlighten moderate
    Nov 12, 2012 - 6:05PM

    Al-Khalid is a great tank to have in a conventional war.

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  • Jewcifer
    Nov 14, 2012 - 9:19AM

    @janamhussain:
    Neocons will bomb it anyways. For reference you can check Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria how “Bomb now, kill later” have turned out.

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  • Talha
    Nov 17, 2012 - 12:48AM

    Invite the mafias in the metropolis to this expo surly they will be interested in such gears. I don’t think there is much competitive advantage left in the manufacturing of state of the art killer machineries as Al Khalid is already more than 10 years old.

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  • Sandip
    Dec 17, 2012 - 12:37PM

    Always difficult to provide numbers, right? Since numbers mean providing facts instead of talking in the air. Thats the only thing that the establishment is good at, spinning stories in the air.

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