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Pakistan hopeful of stronger defence ties with Russia
May 26, 2017

Pakistan hopeful of stronger defence ties with Russia

Pakistan’s new ambassador to Russia, Qazi Khalilullah, held a press conference with the Russian media on Monday (05 September, 2016). RIA Novosti’s Tatyana Kalmykov interviewed Mr. Khalilullah, and had discussed a range of issues pertinent to Russian-Pakistani ties, including defence and security.

Khalilullah noted that Russia will be supplying Pakistan with Mi-35 assault helicopters, which Pakistan had ordered in August of last year. It is believed that the Pakistan Army may require up to 20 Mi-35s in total.

When asked about the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s reported interest in the Sukhoi Su-35, Khalilullah stated that the PAF Chief of Air Staff (CAS) was had held “fruitful talks” during his official visit in July, and since then, the PAF had “considered various options for deepening cooperation with Russia.”

Khalilullah concluded that he was unable to offer additional specific details or information in regards to possible or potential arms acquisitions. But in response to an earlier question, the ambassador reiterated Pakistan’s hope to strengthen its defence ties with Russia, be it arms acquisitions or other fields.

Notes, Comments & Analysis:

It has been exactly one year since reports emerged of Pakistani interest in the Sukhoi Su-35. To date, no clear or official confirmation from the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has been provided, though several sources have claimed that interest is – or at least was – genuine. For example, a senior Pakistani official apparently confirmed to IHS Jane’s in 2015 that talks between Pakistan and Russia for the Su-35 did take place.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Congress refusing to release Foreign Military Financing (FMF) support for a proposed sale of eight F-16C/D Block-52+, Pakistan’s Defence Secretary Lt. General (R) Muhammad Alam Khattak noted that France and Russia were being examined as alternative sources for new fighter aircraft.

However, the PAF had only confirmed its plans to continue developing the JF-17 Thunder, and in time, to finalize its next-generation fighter requirement. Besides this, used or surplus F-16s from various sources, such as Jordan, may be procured to help fill capability gaps in the short-term.

Although the PAF has not offered any official word on this issue, it would be disingenuous to suggest that there is no value in the PAF having a heavier and longer-range platform to augment the JF-17, at least in the short and medium terms (i.e. before the introduction of the next-generation platform).

For example, retired PAF Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail had argued (via Defense News) that the advent of Gwadar would require the PAF to expand its maritime coverage. With its twin-engine configuration, long range, and heavier payload, the Su-35 would fit that role.

In another sense, one could also position the Su-35 as a capable strike fighter, one the PAF could heavily arm with stand-off range weapons and even air-launched cruise missiles. Comparatively infrequent and specialized roles such as strike or extended-range patrol suit the platform type of the Su-35, which would generally have a longer turnaround time between flights, a lower availability rate, and costlier operational costs than the JF-17 or F-16.

If configured with a powerful radar and robust electronics warfare (EW) and electronics countermeasures (ECM) suite, the Su-35 could also act as a force-multiplier agent, one that could even operate in concert with the JF-17 (by providing long-range air-to-air coverage; serving as a quasi airborne early warning or AEW platform; or engaging as a stand-off jamming platform).

It could be the case that the PAF has established contact with United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Russia’s overarching aircraft manufacturing vendor. However, the best case scenario at this stage would be one of cursory interest and preliminary discussion. Irrespective of media or even official government claims, the PAF is, ultimately, the most authoritative source for information on its plans, which have yet to mention the Su-35 (or any other fighter besides the JF-17, F-16, and next-generation platform).

  • Shehzad Maqbool

    under india’s umbrella, will Russia provide us these Jets?

    • MT

      Russia ll lose 8bill $ supersukhoi contract for 300 SU30MKI upgrade to win 1-2 bill$ pakistan orders.

      not to forget 15bil $ Pak Fa orders

      • Kashif Kori

        i agree with you. but on other and the agreement between America & India costs more than these deals. India being strong ally of Russia tied with it,s opponent US , so why Russia cant supply these jets to Pakistan as playing neutral role.

        • MT

          Pak is nt ready to fund its purchase. U can’t expect Russia to loan su35 on installment while Indian & Russian companies are investing 20-30 bill $ on naive oil business acquisition. Russian sale of su35 ll hurt Russian lose mega bill $ business from india. India economy ll jump from 7 th place to top 3 in 6-7 yrs .

          Pakistani don’t understand the convergence in India Russia vision

          1. Both India Russia accept USA as world superpower. Russians are not living in cold war age. They don’t have funds and resources to waste money complete with usa
          Putin realize that India USA relationship is driven by economics
          Putin said it during discussion with Indian journalist -july 2016. Putin said that Russia is no more top notch defence producer in that interview but he called himself long lasting friend.
          India ready to pump 20bill$ in Pak fa in return for some Russian technologies. Russians are for sale & they trust India over China any day

          2. Russia and India prefer multi polar world order where China is contained from becoming sole G2 member. Russians don’t want to be delegated as Chinese fiddle.
          Russian envy USA but they don’t want to be subservient to cheen.
          3. Russian have become over dependent on China Post sanctions& they fear exploitation in future which is why Putin wants every sbusiness in Russia to be divested by India and Chinese companies proportionately

          Russia is planning to sell 5-10% of Rosneft biggest oil company shares to Indian oil giants to raise money from india.That deal alone is Worth 10-20bill$> for Russians from India.

          4. Indian third Biggest oil refinery with production of 400000 barrels (more than Pak total consumption) essar sold 50% shares to Rosneft for 6bill$ which ll help Russia sell oil to India with barter deal (Russia ll exchange oil with iran and iran ll supply oil to essar india)

          Just look at volume of deals helping Russia diversify oil sales to India away from sanctioned hit EU.
          Russians are not concerned with Indian USA deal as they know that American ll never be allowed to snoop on Russian akula class submarine,& Russian figure Pak fa technologies

          Russians know that India USA Asian pivot doesn’t hurt Russian interest. Infact Asian pilot contains China which serves interests of Russia.

          Pak ll never be taken seriously until u have independent economy and local MNC.

          USA Russian China India UK France Germany are big players in world bcoz they have dozens of fortune 500companies with good r&d ; publish top research publications/parents by nos/citations

          Pakistan need to introspect and evaluate it’s true value in region.we understand that Pak military peddles fake narrative of cpec being silk route and Pak being most strategic country in world but true value of country is measured by its economy and r&d.

          • Headstrong

            Well said, sir. You have hit the nail on the head. The delusions these people have….

          • Adil

            What about 700 million poor people to feed , are you planning to sell them ad well Mr.

        • vinsin

          Russia will provide jets to Pakistan but not now but surely after 4-6 yrs. Best time should be b/w 2020-25. India cannot keep happy both the players happy for very long time. India has to choose one in the end.

          Russians are basically on sales since 1991 and china is their biggest buyer of defense tech.

          In modern warfare no amount of weapons are useful unless supported by indigenous GPS.

      • Saadat

        and then who will upgrade your 272 Sukhoi 30 MKI’s who are already at 55% serviceability? Lockheed or Boeing or Dassault?? 😀 Pak Fa is going no where already, the whole world knows – except you! 🙂

        • MT

          Russian & India are working together to get serviceability to 75 %by 2018. Tata ll manufacturer sukhoi components & Russian ll move components manufacturing to India

          sukhoi upgrade is 8 bill $bixz for Russia. Some money ll go to Israel in upgrading deal but majority beneficiary is ruskies
          pak fa is still under development & India ll invest in platform from 2020 after rafale funds are availed.

          • Saadat

            Whether Russia sells Su-35 to Pakistan or not, India is in no position to blackmail Russia on its 272 Su-30 MKI’s. The planes are already sold, so now its not Russia that need India. India needs Russia to upgrade its Su-30’s, period. and Russia already knows its not getting any future plane orders from India anyway due to India’s closeness to Uncle Sam.

          • MT

            India can walk away from Su30 upgrades & move on to F35 or another american/european aircraft.
            You are confused about Pak-Fa which is more than 20 bill$ orders from India. The plane is delayed for development up to 2020-22 but India will be receiving them from 2025 for sure

            Russians wont like to risk 20 bill$ business over 1-2 bill $ money which Pakistan would pay on EMI

          • Mazhar

            MT, ready my earlier reply to you, go little up and read, you guys are STUCK with SU30 upgrade and PAK FA.

          • MT

            nope..india hasn’t put any decent funds in pak fa

            25 bill $ cash is too much to resist psk

          • MT

            Russians know the spill overs from any sale of Su35 to Pakistan.

            I can predict that for atleast 5-7 yrs, Pak cant hope of procuring Tier1 system from Russia which includes Su35,S400 ,Armata tanks

      • Navid Butt

        All that massive import will in the end,make India dependent on Russia. Unlike in the past, India will no longer be in a position to hold Russia to ransom .

        • MT

          India is much stronger on world map while russia looks feeble, depressed with economy going south.

          The last thing is they want to annoy India.

          Russians know that India USA Asian pivot doesn’t hurt Russian interest. Infact Asian pilot contains China which serves interests of Russia.

      • Mazhar

        You need to upgrade your 270+ SU30MKI, so due to Pakistan-Russia relations, whether you want to go ahead with it or not, you are stuck with this upgrade. This is your NEED, not Russia’s. India already invested lots of money in PAK FA, so it’s also your need. Indians still not apprehending that rest of the world does not use Indian spectacles to look around.

        • MT

          Russia seeking 100 bill$ investment from India. India picking up 10 % stake in rosneft for 15-20 bill$ while rosneft bought Essar energy refinery for 6 bill$

          You have failed to understand Indian policy making .
          India in that case will stop the upgrade as we did with Scorpene deals which is not limited to 6 submarine while 3 more were almost confined unofficially by India

          Russia will lose 8-10 bill$. Pak-Fa will be shut down– India have only invested 500-1000 mill$ which isn t big money

          US & france would love if Russia does that suicide.

          I would have agreed to your hypothesis 5 yrs ago once Russsia was economically strong. With weakening russian economy & GDP in negative growth; Russia wouldnt dare sell Su35 to Pakistan

        • MT

          You should read this
          =>
          Pakistani don’t understand the convergence in India Russia vision

          1. Both India Russia accept USA as world superpower. Russians are not living in cold war age. They don’t have funds and resources to waste money compete with usa
          Putin realize that India USA relationship is driven by economics
          Putin said it during discussion with Indian journalist -july 2016. Putin said that Russia is no more top notch defence producer in that interview but he called himself long lasting friend.
          India ready to pump 20bill$ in Pak fa in return for some Russian technologies. Russians are for sale & they trust India over China any day

          2. Russia and India prefer multi polar world order where China is contained from becoming sole G2 member. Russians don’t want to be delegated as Chinese fiddle.
          Russian envy USA but they don’t want to be subservient to cheen.
          3. Russian have become over dependent on China Post sanctions& they fear exploitation in future which is why Putin wants every sbusiness in Russia to be divested by India and Chinese companies proportionately

          Russia is planning to sell 5-10% of Rosneft biggest oil company shares to Indian oil giants to raise money from india.That deal alone is Worth 10-20bill$> for Russians from India.

          4. Indian third Biggest oil refinery with production of 400000 barrels (more than Pak total consumption) essar sold 50% shares to Rosneft for 6bill$ which ll help Russia sell oil to India with barter deal (Russia ll exchange oil with iran and iran ll supply oil to essar india)

          Just look at volume of deals helping Russia diversify oil sales to India away from sanctioned hit EU.
          Russians are not concerned with Indian USA deal as they know that American ll never be allowed to snoop on Russian akula class submarine,& Russian figure Pak fa technologies

          Russians know that India USA Asian pivot doesn’t hurt Russian interest. Infact Asian pilot contains China which serves interests of Russia.

          Pak ll never be taken seriously until u have independent economy and local MNC.

          USA Russian China India UK France Germany are big players in world bcoz they have dozens of fortune 500companies with good r&d ; publish top research publications/parents by nos/citations

          Pakistan need to introspect and evaluate it’s true value in region.we understand that Pak military peddles fake narrative of cpec being silk route and Pak being most strategic country in world but true value of country is measured by its economy and r&d.

  • Sj Sharjeel

    India is been tied with US, & they can’t block our Jet import now we are heading to Russia..

  • MT

    Another brilliant post from BRF:

    skeptical of the idea that Putin will distance himself from India and embrace the Pakis in a fit of pique over our signing the LEMOA. Putin isn’t a reactionary idiot. He understands the compulsions of geopolitical maneuvering as well as, or better than, anybody else. He knows that our alignment with the US, to the extent that it exists, is entirely China-specific. He knows that one day he, too, might need India as a counterweight against a China that becomes a threat to Russia itself. And he surely knows how much the Pakis are to be trusted.

    If Russia actually backpedals away from its close proximity to India, denies us Akula-II SSBN and other technologies, and conversely embraces Pakistan… then we can be sure that Russia is doing this for its own reasons and on its own initiative, not because we signed the LEMOA. Putin does NOT react… he did not react when the Turks shot down an Su-27, but quietly and effectively pursued his own strategy in Syria without taking the bait. He plays the game on his terms, makes the moves he chooses at the times he decides to make them.

  • Sami Shahid

    Pakistan can not depend on used F-16’s forever as the US allowance is required to buy even used F-16’s. It would be better if Pakistan buy at least 8 Su-35’s now so that PAF pilots can get used to Su-35.

  • bill

    We have to realize that heavy fighter jets shall always be more costlier than single engine light/medium level fighters even if we consider F18s. Further 5th gen jets whether light weight or heavy shall be more complicated and costly. These are realities we may see glimpses from news about F35 and F22s.

    PAF is in much need for a heavy platform to be used for specific purposes i.e for maritime and land based strikes at long distances. Our Mirage Vs and IIIs can’t perform these missions especially in enemy territory due capable radar/SAM network , off course upgraded heavy fighter jets also can’t be ignored.

    Further we should understand that any 4.5th gen fighter like Su 35 will not become irrelevant despite induction of true 5th gen jets so if upgraded continuously may even serve longer than F16s/Mirages.

    (Main drawbacks like maintenance and engine issues have been addressed in SU35s which were present in previous versions of Su27s. On the other hand IAF facing issues regarding SU30s because they have created a mess by integrating different techs from different vendors having compatibility issues.

  • Mazhar

    If Pak Russia deal for SU 35/37 come into existence, comments of all our Indian “friends” will fly away in smoke. Sooner or later, time will tell.

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