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Pak indigenous defence production touches USD 1.5 bn: Report

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The JF-17 fighter. Pakistan is manufacturing the multi-role warplane in cooperation with China. A file photo

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan's indigenous defence production has reached US $1.5 billion per annum with the country achieving self-sufficiency in several areas, according to a prominent defence weekly.

"We have substituted imported defence equipment worth US $1.5 bn (per year), which for us is a huge bonus," Jane's Defence Weekly quoted an unnamed Pakistani official as saying.

Of the US $1.5 billion defence hardware produced locally, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, which manufactures the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet, Mushak and Super Mushak aircraft, produced equipment worth a billion dollar last year.

Supplies worth another US $500 million came from other production facilities catering for the Army and the Navy.

These included the Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) and the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF).

The Taxila complex builds Al Khalid and Al Zarrar tanks along with armoured personnel carriers, while POF produces small arms and medium-sized weapon systems for the armed forces.

Another major contributor has been the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works.

"We have achieved self-sufficiency in several areas of defence production. We cannot lower our guard against the threat from our adversaries," Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain was quoted as saying by the Jane's.

The country's defence industry has often been criticised for being inefficient and low tech because of which the cost of its products has been higher than that of comparable items in the international market.

But, the government's decision to grant first right of refusal to the local industry, which is state-controlled, helped the ailing industry in boosting its sales, the Dawn reported.

Under the first right of refusal, local buyers have to accord preference to local industry for their procurements.

Despite the progress made by the local defence industry in meeting the needs of the armed forces, the defence industry has not been able to find buyers for its products in the international market, the report said.

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