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HIMADS induction – encircling India?

On Thursday, October 14th, the Pakistan Army commissioned state-of-the-art Chinese manufactured High to Medium Air Defence System (HIMDAS), HQ-9/P, in the Air Defense arm of the Army.

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“Induction of HIMADS will significantly enhance Comprehensive Layered Integrated Air Defence (CLIAD) shield of aerial frontiers of Pakistan as the system is fully integrated through a well-knit Digitized System on its inventory,” the official statement read. The procurement of HIMADS from China indicates Pakistan’s increasing reliance on China for military hardware. HIMADS will further strengthen Pakistan’s aerial defence against fighter jets, cruise and BVR missiles.

HQ-9/P is a top-of-the-line strategic long-range Surface to Air Missile (SAM). Its remarkable flexibility and precision make it capable of intercepting multiple air targets including aircraft, cruise missiles and Beyond Visual Range Weapons at ranges over 100 kilometers with single shot kill probability.

Speaking at the occasion, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that exemplary synergy between the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Army Air Defence had made the country’s air defence impregnable. The COAS also underscored the importance of air defence and further stated that  the induction of high-tech systems would make Pakistan’s air defence “impenetrable in the emerging threat scenario”.

Read More: Pakistan registers record defence exports worth Rs 60 bln: Report

Lieutenant General Hamooduz Zaman Khan, commander of the Army Air Defence Command, also briefed General Bajwa on the strategic weapon system.

Pakistan’s tilt towards China in procuring latest weapons and weapon systems depicts the country’s change of camp. This paradigm shift – against the backdrop of the US strategic alliance with India – is believed to restore the balance of power regionally and globally.

Induction of VT-4 tanks

Pakistan formally inducted the first batch of the China-made VT-4 battle tanks in July this year. The buying of these tanks came as part of Pakistan’s attempt to increase its armoury. The VT-4 battle tanks have been manufactured by Chinese state-owned armoured vehicle manufacturer, Norinco, and the delivery of these started in April last year. With the latest induction, Pakistan is the third country to have bought these tanks from China, after Thailand and Nigeria.

Read More: Pakistan Army commissions first 42 VT-4 tanks to secure the Indian border

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had stated that VT-4 is compatible with any modern tank in the world integrating advanced armour protection, maneuverability, firepower capabilities and state-of-the-art technology.” The army further noted that these third-generation tanks will be utilized “in an offensive role by strike formations.”

Sale of drones to Pakistan by China

In December 2020, China sold 50 Wing Loong II UCAVs armed drones to Pakistan. China touted these drones to be a nightmare for Indian ground formations in high-altitude areas as India’s military does not possess the ability to respond to the new-age stand-off weapons.

In December 2020, while commenting on the Chinese sale of the Wing Loong II, the Indian Air Force chief had said that be it the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir or the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the airspace was very closely monitored by radars and manned with fighters and the armed drones would simply be shot down if they cross the lines. Six months down the line – towards the end of June – the reality was different when there was a drone attack on the high security technical area of the Indian Air Force station at Jammu.

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