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Pakistan outlines technology transfer priority

Pakistan has outlined a commitment to ensure that all major defence procurements are supported through technology transfers from suppliers.

The Pakistan government said in its three-year performance report, published in late August, that the technology strategy will be implemented through its recently updated offset policy.

“Transfers of technologies (ToT) are now being made part of all big-ticket items in order to ensure self-reliance,” said the report.

It also indicated that technology transfers are benefitting its principal naval shipbuilder Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW). “ToT worth millions of US dollars has been acquired for submarine and ship manufacturing,” it said, without elaborating.

Pakistan's offset policy was launched in 2014 but was updated to put more emphasis on encouraging enhanced foreign contractor engagement with local industry. The policy puts a priority on technology transfers.

China is Pakistan's biggest military supplier, and in recent years, Chinese firms have expanded their industrial partnerships in the country. KS&EW, for instance, is building four of eight Chinese S20 diesel-electric submarines, based on the Yuan-class (Type 039A-series) design.

In addition to ToT, the offset policy encourages exports. The three-year performance report said Pakistan's defence exports over the period of the document totalled about PKR60 billion (USD360 million). The report did not disclose the proportion of the sales linked to offsets.

The government report also disclosed information about upgrades to Pakistan's state-owned defence industrial base. Like the offset policy, this is managed by the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP).

The report said the country's biggest defence enterprise, Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), has “spent substantially on upgrading of its infrastructure and machinery”. POF has also established two new units to enhance production and the commercialisation of its products, it said.

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