Pakistan began with virtually no military production capability, and, because of its limited economic means and lack of foreign markets, there is little prospect of the country's ever developing industrial facilities that could cover its equipment needs. However, it has taken a series of partial steps in some of the most crucial fields and aspired to become selfsufficient, at least in such basic areas as aircraft overhaul and modernization and tank and helicopter sales.
At the time of independence, there was hardly any industrial base in?Pakistan. The contribution of the industrial sector to the GNP in 1949-50 was only 5.8%, out of which, 4.8% was attributed to small scale industries. With virtually no defence industry, the entire needs of the Armed Forces were met through purchases, mostly from UK. As an immediate step towards meeting the requirements of the Armed Forces, Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POFs) was established at Wah in 1951. Initially it was assigned the responsibility of manufacturing small arms/ammunitions for British Weapons Systems. But with the induction of US weapons systems, it had to switch over to the production of related ammunition. The Ordinance Factories gave a fine account of themselves in supporting the Army in the field during 1965 war.
The suspension of all types of military aid and embargoes during and after the 1965 War, made the nation conscious of the fact that it must strive towards achieving greater self-reliance in production of military hardware and also of diversifying sources of purchase of military equipment. Diversification, however, consequently made the task of ammunition production relatively more difficult because of the large variety of weapon systems that had been inducted.
Symbolic of Pakistan's determination to move to a degree of self-sufficiency was the creation of the Ministry of Defence Production in September 1991. The Ministry of Defence Production has been responsible for promoting and coordinating a patchwork of military production facilities that have developed since independence. The oldest of these facilities is the Pakistan Ordnance Factory at Wah Cantonment, near Rawalpindi, established in 1951, to produce small arms, ammunition, and explosives. During the period of reliance on United States supply, there was little attention given to domestic production, but after the assistance cutoffs in 1965 and 1971, Pakistan--with China's help--set about expanding its facilities, including the modernization of Wah. The Heavy Industries at Taxila was established in 1971 as an equipment rebuilding facility, followed in 1973 by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, north of Islamabad. The air force assembled Chinese F-6s and French Mirages; produced the Mushshak trainer, which was based on the Swedish SAAB Safari/Supporter; maintained radar and avionics equipment; and in the mid-1990s was in the process of developing the Karakorum jet trainer in a joint project with China.
The ministry also includes seven other specialized organizations devoted to research and development, production, and administration. Total personnel strength in 1993 was more than 50,000, including 2,600 professionals. The government estimated annual production in the early 1990s at US$500 million including about US$30 million in exports. For example, Mushshaks were provided to Iran as light trainers and observation aircraft. Exports ranked high among the ministry's goals.
The navy is supported mainly by a facility at the Karachi Shipyard, which has limited production capacity and in 1994 had to its credit only an 831-ton tanker and a prototype 200-ton coastal patrol vessel. In 1987 development of a submarine repair and rebuild facility at Port Qasim was begun.
On 29 July 2006 Major General Syed Ali Hamid, Director General of DEPO informed that for the last two to three years Pakistan had a sustained export of $100 million of armaments whereas prior to the IDEAS it was not more then $ 40 million per annum. He said Pakistan is relatively a new player in armaments export with 95 percent shares of Public sector.
Ministry of Defence Production
After 1971 war the Government decided to initiate a program of relatively greater self-reliance and Defence Production Division was created in 1972. The mandate given to this Division was to lay-down policy, formulate plans, coordinate between procurement and developmental activities and to accelerate the pace of technological development to achieve greater self-reliance through indigenization. In 2004, the Division was re-designated as Ministry of Defence Production. Over the years, the MoDP has worked towards this assigned goal and we can be proud of our achievement in this field. There is an increased self reliance in all defence fields. The Armed Forces are not only being supported and kept in a high state of readiness through our indigenous means, but we have also been exporting our defence equipment and munitions to some of our friendly countries.
The mission assigned to MoDP is to meet the requirement of the Armed Forces through a prudent combination of procurement (local and import) and indigenous production with a continued effort to enhance the component of indigenous production and in the process export surplus capacity of our defence products to regional and friendly countries.
The functions of the MoDP under Rules of Business 1973 have been reviewed and revised in the light of its expanded activities in 2003 and are shown below:
- Laying down policies or guidelines on all matters relating to defence production.
- Procurement of firearms, weapons, ammunition, equipment, stores and explosives for the defence forces.
- Declaration of industries necessary for the purpose of defence or for the prosecution of war.
- Research and development of defence equipment and stores.
- Co-ordination of defence science research with civil scientific research organizations.
- Indigenous production and manufacture of defence equipment and stores.
- Negotiations of agreements or MOUs for foreign assistance or collaboration and loans for purchase of military stores and technical know-how or transfer of technology.
- Export of defence products.
- Marketing and promotion of activities relating to export of defence products.
- Coordinate production activities of all defence production organizations or establishments.
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