Pakistan is strengthening its intelligence cooperation with Saudi Arabia and achieving more Saudi investments in the defence industry, as discussed at the first World Defence Show earlier this month. Pakistan is also intensifying its partnerships with China.
The first World Defence Show was launched in Riyadh between 6-9 March and received a great reception. It hosted the Pakistan Pavilion, which displayed equipment from the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), the Ministry of Defence Production’s largest defence complex in the country.
The kingdom is the largest POF customer, beating the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Pakistani government, led by Imran Khan, is looking to attract more Saudi investments after obtaining a $4.2 billion loan from the Saudi Fund for Development. It relies on its defence industry to attract new capital.
The POF, headed by Ali Amir Awan, has factories in the Wah Cantonment in Punjab, whose pavilion in Riyadh was visited by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Partnership agreements were signed with CEO of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) Walid Abukhaled and Governor of General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Al-Ohali.
At the defence exhibition, the Pakistani military revealed its new BW20 assault rifle and promoted its work with the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF), which assembles US, French and Chinese weapons.
Led by retired Army Chief of Staff Raheel Sharif, who now heads the Riyadh-based Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, the Pakistan Defence Industry delegation showcased its latest products, including the JF-17 fighter jet.
The aircraft was developed in partnership with China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group and is not the only Pakistani equipment that China has participated in manufacturing.
With Chinese assistance, the Pakistan Air Force has also developed the Burraq drone, derived from the Uqab drone.
The Chinese Norinco Company for General Defence also participated in the exhibition in Riyadh. It regularly attends the Dubai Airshow and IDEX UAE.
Saudi Ambassador to Islamabad Nawaf Bin Saeed Al-Maliki and Chairman of the Pakistan Investment Council Mohammed Azfar Ahsan discussed increasing economic cooperation between the two countries last month, with the negotiations continuing at the World Defence Show.
The only tangible deal was the Saudi Telecom Company’s investment in Pakistan’s Awal Telecom.
Riyadh and Islamabad also continue their security cooperation, with the head of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence, Khalid Bin Ali al-Humaidan, entering into an agreement with the head of Internal Intelligence (ISI), Nadim Ahmed Anjum, in Islamabad in December.