Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved a deal “years in the making” to purchase eight submarines from China, a Pakistani government official assumed on Thursday, in what might be one of China’s major overseas weapons trades once it is signed. The official, who was present-day at Tuesday’s conference of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defense which was directed by the Navy, said the agreement to buy the diesel-electric submarines would likely be signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he official visit, “but that is still not final”. Xi was due to travel to Pakistan this month, the government in Islamabad has assumed. China has said Xi would visit this year, but specified no time frame.
China and Pakistan request each other “all-weather friends” and their near ties have been underpinned by long-standing caution of their common neighbor and rival, India, and a wish to hedge against U.S. influence across the region.
“The prime minister has permitted buying eight submarines from China and these would be used to bolster Pakistan’s strong point,” the official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.
He added that “last-minute homework is pending”.
“Some officials are traveling to China even today. Work is ongoing,” he said. “This deal is years in the making.”
He believed Pakistan was observing at S20 and Yuan class diesel-electric vessels.
A previous senior Pakistan navy officer with information of the negotiations told the Financial Times the contract could be worth $4 billion to $5 billion.
Requested about the submarines, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China and Pakistan were pleasant neighbors and that the two sides had usual military exchanges.
“I can tell you, applicable cooperation does not violate international convention and accords with China’s three principles on military trades,” she expressed a daily news briefing.
China is Pakistan’s top supplier of weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks global arms auctions, selling 51 percentage of the weapons Islamabad trade in in 2010-2014.
China has also surpassed Germany to turn out to be the world’s third largest arms exporter, SIPRI said in a report last month. Little is recognized about China’s arms exports since the country does not publish data on such sales.
The Pakistani official too thought that Pakistan had been in talks with France to buy new submarines, but the application was dropped by the French.
A top U.S. Navy admiral supposed in February that, though they were technologically inferior, China’s submarine fleet now outnumbered that of the United States.