Pakistan’s Economic and Defense Situation

Pakistan’s existence has always been threatened by one enemy or another since its inception. It’s the resolve of its civilians and armed forces, however, has enabled it to survive this long. Pakistan’s new government is faced with some serious challenges which are mainly economic and defense related in nature. Currently, the most serious threats that Pakistan faces, in terms of defense, is from India and its growing influence in Afghanistan. America is increasingly supporting India against China and Pakistan and India is spending heavily to enhance its defensive capabilities. The most recent example of such expenditure is of India’s deal with Russia to acquire S-400 missile system which is termed as one of the most advanced and effective long-range interceptor-based air defense systems in the world.

India intends to purchase 5 regiments of S-400 from Russia and this should be viewed as a significant threat to Pakistan as India is on a mindless warpath and wishes nothing less than to destroy Pakistan. Essentially the S-400 is an anti-aircraft weapon system which carries four different missiles: the very-long-range 40N6 (400 km), the long-range 48N6 (250 km), the medium-range 9M96E2 (120 km) and the short-range 9M96E (40 km). It has the capability to detect a target from 600km and can simultaneously engage 80 targets at a time. In such a case Pakistan needs to prepare and boost its defense capabilities to address this threat. Currently Pakistan is the only South Asian nation which has successfully tested a Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle system (MIRV), ABABEEL.

This in itself provides an edge to Pakistan as MIRV drastically reduces the effectiveness of an Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense system. ABM defense systems detect a single as a single target and in turn launch a single interceptor to address the threat but when MIRVs are capable of carrying multiple warheads, giving it an edge over such defense systems. While an ABM will be able to detect a hostile object violating the airspace of the country, it cannot differentiate as to the nature and the type of the incoming threat. As a result Pakistan can use ABABEEL to engage as many S-400 shoots as possible in turn deterring the threat posed by S-400.

Further Pakistan needs to work on producing a better defense system than the S-400 and should look to enhance the speed of its warheads to negate the threat of S-400 defense system. While the delivery of S-400 defense system to India is scheduled for 2020 Pakistan’s economic problems are relatively more severe in nature. According to the Finance Minister of Pakistan Mr. Asad Umar Pakistan needed to arrange around $12 Billion in six weeks (starting August) to survive.

This bailout package is essential for the economy to functional effectively. Currently Pakistan has received $2bn in aid from China and another $3bn has been promised by Saudi Arabia. In addition to $3bn, Saudi Arabia intends to supply oil to Pakistan on deferred payments worth $3bn. This measure came as a result of Mr. Imran Khan’s trip to Saudi Arabia in October and is much welcomed by the people of Pakistan. This, however, doesn’t solve the problem as roughly another $7bn is required to support the economy.

In this matter Mr. Imran Khan is on a visit to UAE, Malaysia and China to seek aid and assistance. According to reports Pakistan has sought $6bn bailout from UAE and while UAE delegation has not agreed upon any amount but it has assured Pakistan of its support. Meanwhile, ahead of PM Imran Khan’s visit to China, deputy ambassador of China has already assured that the trip will yield good news for China and that China, will hopefully, provide a financial grant to Pakistan as a bailout package. Considering these promises, it seems that Pakistan will hold a stronger position in the negotiations with IMF as they amount sought will be meager.

One may hope that the bailout package provided to Pakistan by its friends may be enough that an IMF package may not be required. Either way, this would be a huge success for Pakistan and its newly elected government making Pakistan’s economic and Defense situation better than before.

Saudi Arabia pledges $6bn package to Pakistan

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