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PAKISTAN ARMED FORCES

Defending the country of a hundred million people, by well over a half a million strong army, is the challenging and complex work undertaken by the Pakistan Armed Forces. The country that according to Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, the last British Commander-in-Chief to India, was impossible to defend has been through three wars and has not only survived but nourished itself over the years. "Only a miracle could save the Pakistan Armed Forces", according to another military expert, "from the fate which the enemies of the young nation were only too ready to forecast for it."

Few nations have come to the world with so little as Pakistan did. Bounded by Russia, Afghanistan, and India, it had to face enemies from all sides with only the courage of its soldiers and the formidable legacy of martial Muslims of Asia. Through their discipline, efficiency, and unquinchable faith came inspired performance.

At independence, Pakistan inherited the British Indian Armed Forces system of command. In those years the inter-services matters were handled by the Deputy Chiefs Organization, later renamed Joint Services Secretariat.

On 23rd March 1956, which is celebrated as Pakistan Day, the British Royal prefix was dropped along with the Royal salute, and the regimental mottoes were revised to reflect the spirit of the new nation. Today the nation's Chief Executive commands the Armed Forces through the Defence Minister, assisted by the Defence Committee of the cabinet. The Joint Chief of Army Staff reports to this committee. The Headquarters is made up of three branches: Planning, Training, and Logistics, each headed by a Director General with a rank of a Major-General.

The mandate for the Director General Planning is to prepare and keep under review potential threats and to evaluate the strategy of the enemy. He also reports on the combat readiness and preparedness of the army and makes recommendations on the role, size and structure of the Armed Force; advise on strategic communications and establish close liaison with the Training and Logistics branches.

Each of three services of Pakistan play an important role in defending its international borders as well safeguard its national interests. Due to rapid advancements in technology and regional developments, new missions are being added to each service's role in this regard. Pakistan army's disparity in size against India and lack of strategic depth have made the idea of a first strike very likely in any event of war. Pakistan army tested its new doctrine of offensive-defence in its 1989 exercise dubbed Zarb-e-Momin. The previous wars' experience of little co-ordination between services resulted in loss of any coherent offensives. The importance of such co-operation were demonstrated in the Gulf War and has not been lost on Pakistan's forces. Pakistan Army, being the largest in size is also the most prominent in the nation's military strategy and planning. It is meant to counter the larger Indian Army on multiple fronts. The disparity in this service is the least vis-a-vis India, and Pakistan Army is well equipped and trained to carry its objectives in any future conflict. Its armored formations are its most valubale assets and will be tasked with taking the war into enemy territory initially and then to hold on till a ceasefire. The production of Al-Khalid will enable it to retire out-dated equipment and the upgrading of T-59s in the form of Al-Zarrar will give Pakistan Army vital night fighting capability. There are many areas where greater efficiency could be acheived, such as air defence and mobility, but prioritization of assets means that some areas have to be neglected as a compromise. The recently acquired Mi-17s from Russia will certainly boost the its capablity of airborne operations. Further purchases are likely as a replacement for the long serving Puma helicopters in the coming decade.

Pakistan Air force will have to destroy enemy forward radar installations and disable forward enemy airbases in addition to playing a more active role in supporting ground troops in any future conflict. The increasing disparity in advanced fighter crafts between India and Pakistan only hinders Pakistan Air force to play such a role with much effectiveness. Induction of force mulitpliers such as AEW aircraft and BVR missiles is a priority. The induction of force multipliers will also play a significant role in any new conflict specially after India's planned acquisition of Phalcon AEW from Israel and induction of Su-30MKI air-supperiority fighters. Upgrade of the Mirage fleet is complete and it is likely that Pakistan will look for a small number of fourth generation fighters to complement its 32 F-16s. The production of a limited number of Super 7s next year will allow PAF to increase its war fighting capability and allow for the eventual retirement of older types like the A-5 and Mirage 3EP. Pakistan's dwindling transport fleet has been given a much needed boost with the acquisition of four CN-235s from IPTN and six refurbished C-130s from the U.S. Six Aerostat ballon mounted radars will give the airforce a limited AEW capability, however a AWACS would still be much more desireable.

The navy's main mission is to keep open Pakistan's sea lines of communication. patroling and safegaurding merchant shipping in the three main EEZs. A second objective is to neutralize as much as it can of the vastly superior fleet at Delhi's command. The problem of over-dependance on Karachi is being addressed by developing two more naval bases at Omara and Pasni as well as a commercial port at Gwadar. For its intended roles, Pakistan Navy is currently understrength, with only six Type-21 class destroyers available to perform these tasks. The naval surface fleet is going to see expansion soon in terms of atleast four destroyers from China, which are likely to be built in Pakistan under some sort of technology transfer. It would also like to expand its airborne capability in form of more ASW helicopters and MPAs. Likely sources could be more second hand P-3C Orions, Atlantic 2s from France or even CN-235 MPAs. The navy is probably going to be less inclined to get further helicopters from Great Britain, its traditional supplier, because of poor spare support due to sanctions.