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HomeGeopoliticsPakistani interest in Turkish armed drones ring alarm bells in New Delhi

Pakistani interest in Turkish armed drones ring alarm bells in New Delhi

To enhance the alliance between the two “Muslim states,” Pakistan is reportedly eyeing Turkish made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to strengthen its offensive capabilities.

While Turkey and Pakistan already share a special bond, the two countries boosted their relations in political and military cooperation especially after Ankara objected to the abolishment of Article 370 in India’s Jammu & Kashmir state.

According to experts, New Delhi is keeping a close watch on the situation and potential moves by Pakistan to arm up itself with Turkish weapons. It is now being expected that Pakistan is seeking to acquire Bayraktar TB2 UCAV, a highly successful and combat-proven platform developed by Turkish firm Baykar. The same drones which were extensively deployed by Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of 2020.

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President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi on Monday conferred the title of Nishan-e-Imtiaz or “Order of Excellence” to the Commander of the Turkish Land Forces, Gen Umit Dundar, who is on a visit to the country this week.

In April 2021, the Turkish Armed Forces had also awarded Gen Nadeem Raza, Pakistan’s Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the “Legion of Merit” for his services in promoting defence relations between the two countries.

The recent visits of top military officers and defence officials from both states reflect the growing bond among the two governments, focusing to deal with similar challenges and threats jointly.

The political closeness between the two nations is a major concern for India as it somewhat believes to involve China as well, with whom it was involved in major territorial disputes recently. With Beijing a part of the alliance, the aim to challenge Indian interests around the globe becomes evident.

Turkish drones for Pakistan

The Turkish drone industry has matured enough to mass-produce a variety of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), a significant component of the modern era battlefield. With successful examples pitched into service and providing effective results to the operators, the Turkish drones have gained a reputed position in the global arms market.

The Bayraktar TB2 Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) is one of the premium examples of the Turkish drone family. As a platform focused on loitering, the aircraft can cover a range up to 150 kilometres with an endurance of 27 hours.

The UCAV can be armed with multiple Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) guided by targeting systems onboard. When pitched for combat in conflict zones, the drone managed to secure a high success rate against hostile armour and fortifications.

Pakistan at present operates multiple types of UAVs, including combat variants from China and locally developed platform- the Burraq drone, itself based on the Chinese Rainbow CH-3 UAV family from CASC. However, the acquisition of Bayraktar TB2 will be a major enhancement in the combat capability of Pakistan armed forces, providing a technological edge over its primary adversary India, yet to procure such type of drone in high numbers.

Turkey has been contacted on multiple occasions by Pakistan to integrate various combat solutions for armed forces. The construction of MILGEM corvettes for the Pakistan Navy by Turkish manufacturers is one of the latest examples. The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) was involved in the modernization of Pakistan Air Force fleet of F-16A/B “Fighting Falcon” combat aircraft, upgrading the Block 15 standard to Block 20 standards. It is also looking forward to supply T-129 ATAK gunships to Pakistan, a deal stalled due to American objections.

The relations between Turkey and Pakistan also responded to the growing ties between Greece and India. Both the alliances are dealing with equivalent threats from each other and see each other as hostile due to recent disputes both at the political and military levels.

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TFV NewsDesk
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