Chinese Type 90-IIM (Al-Khalid) during a parade in ceremony in Islamabad, Pakistan

Pakistan is planning several new initiatives to reinvigorate the country’s military-industrial complex, which is likely to have suffered due to the impact of COVID-19.

The country’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) said in a report in August 2020 that it is planning new policies for defence production and defence offsets, and also restructuring internally to “make it more efficient and viable”. It is seeking to enhance the role of the country’s private sector in defence manufacturing.

The ministry said it is also reorganising Pakistan’s most prominent state-owned defence enterprises to give them greater independent control.

The MoDP said in its newly published ‘Two years performance report’ that in line with government targets it is committed to supporting the development of an “internationally competitive defence production sector”.

This move is prompted by growing requirements to locally source the capability needs of the Pakistan Armed Forces, to reduce foreign reliance, generate revenues, and increase job opportunities, it said. All these requirements are likely to have intensified during the Covid-19 crisis.

Pakistan’s new defence production policy is currently in draft form and is expected to be issued soon with the aim of outlining manufacturing capabilities and targets, according to the report. The offset policy is also in draft form, it said, and has been issued to MoDP stakeholders for input.

The offset policy is likely to be a second version. The MoDP issued in late 2014 the country’s initial defence offset policy. The policy is promulgated by Pakistan’s defence procurement agency, the Directorate General Defence Purchase (DGDP), which operates as a department of the MoDP.