Curious case of Pakistan’s $7 billion drone purchase from Turkey in Chinese shadow


Photo credit Twitter The Strategic Syndicate

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, April 19: Pakistan is struggling to negotiate $7 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Yet, Pakistan could foot the bill for $7 billion for high-end drones purchase from Turkey.

A leaked US intelligence document has revealed that China is working on a plan to deploy high-altitude drones to up the scale of its surveillance in the Indo Pacific. Recently, China had rolled over $2 billion loan to Pakistan. Turkey is world power in military drone manufacturing.

Additionally, intelligence reports have been sifting details of the Chinese officials who have visited Russia during the state visit of Xi Jinping and afterwards. It has been assessed that a large number of military officials from China have visited Russia. Another piece of dot that the intelligence officials claim to fall in place is the Russian urgency for high-end drones which can match the firepower of Ukraine, which is being supplied with the most modern weaponry by the NATO nations.

In India, the strategic experts are noting with alarm at the purchase of combat drones, Bayraktar Akinci, which have payload of upto 2000 kg as well as 40,000 feet altitude capability. Pakistan has been monitored by the intelligence officials of smuggling drugs and arms through drones in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Incidentally, the intelligence officials have also noted that the weapons left by the US military commanders in Afghanistan have also found ways in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan where the people are fighting on the street for a bag of flour is purchasing $7 billion worth of most modern drones is baffling on the surface. But the development dug deeper reveals a larger nexus, and it may have China connections. China with its expertise of reverse engineering may be eying to acquire the capability to match the NATO firepower in the sky as demonstrated in the Ukraine War.

It may be noted that the IMF is dragging its feet over the bailout package due to the questionable credentials of the Pakistani leadership to stick to the fiscal discipline. In the absence of an IMF bailout package and the western aid drying, Pakistan is increasingly seen pliable to China, as Beijing has in the recent months accelerated the pace of its activities in the Islamic nations. China accounts for over $30 billion of the foreign debt, which is more than one-fourth of the total.

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