Pakistan handed over an improved version Tuesday of its indigenously developed main battle tank to the army.
Islamabad’s joint venture with China and Ukraine was given to the Armored Corps Regiment of Pakistan Army at a ceremony at Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT)-a state-run defense manufacturer.
Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, top military officials attended the ceremony, according to the army’s media wing, the ISPR. The Al Khalid-I will replace its predecessor, the Al Khalid, jointly developed by Pakistan and China during the 1990s.
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“Al Khalid-1 will be handed over to formations, which have a critical and decisive role during war,” a statement said.
Attaining self-sufficiency in defense production
Bajwa lauded HIT’s efforts “towards the attainment of self-reliance and manufacturing of world-class indigenous defense products, direly needed in evolving security environment. “Reiterating the need to bolstered defense and operational preparedness, he said: “Our defense preparation and operational readiness is to ensure peace within and peace without.”
#COAS visited Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) today. COAS was chief guest at the handing over ceremony of Tank Al Khalid-1 to Armoured Corps Regiment. Tank Al Khalid-1 is joint venture with friendly countries China and Ukraine. During the ceremony Tank Al Khalid-1 displayed (1/5) pic.twitter.com/3mbqQ5qwxF
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) July 28, 2020
But he warned, if provoked, the army “shall respond and respond with all our might,” a thinly-veiled reference to longtime rival India.
The two nuclear rivals have long been locked in an intense arms race, with several “successful” missile tests in recent years.
Upgraded specifications of the Al-Khalid 1 tank
According to information about the tank on HIT’s website, it is equipped with enhanced protection against smart ammunition and other forms of top attacks. The tank has improved Muzzle Reference System, Solid State Auto Loader, Improved Radiation Detector and independent and effective command and control system for deeper and long-distance operations.
The website further states that the tank is capable of sustainable operations in nuclear environment because of it life support system. It says the tank has been developed for “higher strategic and tactical mobility”. It is also said to be capable of fighting in built-up areas or urban warfare.
Pakistani analysts fear that India, which has failed to restore normality to Occupied Kashmir since its annexation, is being pushed towards a conflict with Pakistan by a confluence of military, health and economic crises, which have badly dented Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s standing at home
The two armies for decades have faced off across the Line of Control, a de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir region between the two arch rivals.