Pakistan had to look for other sources when West denied defence equipment: Gen Bajwa

Responding to a US journalist during the recently-held security dialogue, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, explained that Pakistan had to look for other sources when the West denied defence equipment to the country, The News reported.

An American journalist had asked the Army chief how he viewed the Sino-Pak security cooperation in the next decade.

Bajwa said that many of the defence deals, which were concluded, have been cancelled, and asked, “So what do we do? China is Pakistan’s neighbour and a very important friend. It has helped us in many ways.”

Bajwa told the scribe that Pakistan was denied military equipment from the West, though deals had been finalised.

Giving examples, the Army chief said that Pakistan had procured T-129 helicopters fitted with US-made engines from Turkey, but the US refused to allow third-party certification.

Similarly, he said that Germany refused to provide Pakistan engines for submarines, adding that France too did the same under pressure from India, which is a big buyer (of French weapons), The News reported.

“So what do we do,” Bajwa asked, telling the American journalist, “It’s your (the US) responsibility to maintain the balance. If you are tilted to one side outright, we will have to find sources to get weapons to save ourselves.”

“So you (the US) need to carry out introspection if your policy is right,” Bajwa told the journalist categorically.

Bajwa further said that Pakistan is not looking for camp politics, rather it would prefer to maintain a balance.

He said Pakistan had historically shared good relations with the US and had been part of Seato, Cento and Baghdad pacts, adding that Pakistan supported the US on Vietnam and Afghan issues.

He added that the Pakistan Army was largely built and trained by the US, saying, “The best equipment we have are the American equipment. We still have deep cooperation with the US and our Western friends. Months back the US Air Force was here for a routine exercise with our air force,” The News reported.

Bajwa asked the American journalist to look at the “muck you (the US) have created there (in Afghanistan)… we are trying to clean that. So we have paid a lot of cost (for that support). So what are you doing about us? Are you maintaining a balance or not?”

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