Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, made an official visit to Prague on Wednesday. There he met with a number of Czech Republic officials including the country’s deputy defence minister Tomas Kuchta and Lt. General Josef Bečvář, the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Republic military.
According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the two sides discussed “issues of mutual interest”, particularly in the areas of military to military cooperation, defence cooperation, and the potential of having Czech Republic officers train at the Pakistan Army’s education and training facilities.
Comment and Analysis
The potential for enhanced defence ties between Pakistan and the Czech Republic can cut across multiple areas – defence industrial cooperation, exercises and bilateral training exchanges being key.
In terms of defence hardware procurements and industry cooperation, Česká Zbrojovka’s CZ-806 BREN 2 assault rifle was in the running for Pakistan’s standard issue rifle requirement. Beyond the BREN, Meopta could potentially be seen as a potential source for scopes and reflex sights.
The Czech Republic is also home to ERA, an experienced developer of passive sensor technology such as the VERA, which was once of interest to Pakistan.
There is also TATRA, which manufactures heavy utility trucks for logistics applications, though its designs could be used to serve as platforms for self-propelled howitzers (such as the Caesar 8×8).
While a comparatively focused vendor, the Czech Republic is among the handful of countries that Pakistan could conceivably have the chance to engage in a serious and beneficial manner.
To what extent Czech systems are adopted will depend on their alignment with the Pakistani military’s needs, but in any case, the Czech Republic’s expertise ought to be respected.