Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa attended the commissioning ceremony of the state-of-the-art Chinese origin VT-4 main battle Tank into a Strike Formation of Pakistan Army in Gujranwala Cantonment on Tuesday. While addressing the ceremony, the COAS said that continuous up-gradation of conventional capabilities is imperative for maintaining qualitative edge over adversaries and deter aggression. According to COAS, VT-4 Tank is another symbol of Pakistan China strategic cooperation and defence collaboration, and its induction will boost strike capabilities of Pakistan Army formations. The Army Chief emphasized that the fast-changing dynamics of warfare demand the highest degree of professionalism and rigorous training with due focus on harnessing sophisticated technologies. According to military experts, made by Chinese defence firm Norinco, the VT-4 main battle tank uses specialized ammunition to engage particular targets while using Chinese anti-armoured ammunition famous for its lethality across the world. Based on its advanced armor protection, high maneuverability, exceptional firepower, equipped with auto transmission system and deep-water fording operation capability, VT-4 is being considered as a potent and effective weapon of strike formations. It was said that Pakistani VT-4 tanks will pose a major threat to Indian Army’s T-90S and upcoming T-90MS tanks in future.
The 21st century geo-strategic and geo-political environment has completely changed the dynamics of present-day war game scenarios. Nuclear deterrence provides a guarantee against potential nuclear invasion but the threats of limited conventional war or low-level tactical attack by the enemy forces while using limited numbers of troops does not warrant use of nuclear weapons therefore maintaining a credible conventional capability has always remained essential for nuclear powers in the past. The post Pulwama attack Military standoff between Pakistan and India clearly defines this phenomenon. Despite having credible nuclear and missile capabilities Pakistan has maintained exceptional conventional fighting machine during recent decades. In fact, the emergence of nuclear forces did not reduce the importance of conventional military rather credible conventional power reinforces the nuclear capabilities of a country.
Pakistan -China Defence Cooperation is a major pillar of broader Pak-China bilateral relationship. Pak-China Defence Cooperation is equally growing in all three military domains including Army, Navy and Air Force. The heavy Industry Taxila jointly manufactured T-59 Al-Zafar tank, Al-Khalid tank, and Al-Khalid tank-1 during the past. On other hand, both nations jointly produced K-8 and JF-17 thunder under joint venture of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and Chengdu Aircrafts Corporation of China.
Similarly, Pakistan Navy has handed over an ambitious shopping list to Chinese firms, which includes F-22 P Frigates, four type 054 A/P warships, fast attack crafts, helicopters and medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle and 8 hangor class submarines to enhance capabilities of its operational fleet.
In fact, Pakistan and China have enjoyed all weather friendship and militaries of both countries have strong working relations in counterterrorism, defence and security and joint training. Most of the procurement contracts have been made on a transfer of technology basis. While doing business with Chinese firms, Pakistan never faced troublesome situations which it had experienced while dealing with western powers including the United States and France in the past.
The ongoing geo-political developments in the region have created new opportunities and potential avenues of cooperation between the two countries. Hopefully, Pak-China friendship and defence cooperation will increase many folds in the days to come.