sources to look into possibility of signing the accord for provision of
U-214 submarines to Pakistan Navy.
snags due to change of mind in the current Pakistani government over
purchase of German submarines.
In 2008 Pakistan Navy under chief of navel staff Admiral Muhammad
Afzal Tahir made efforts for including German 214 Class submarines in
its fleet and owing to Navy’s persistent efforts, the government had
approved plans for acquisition of these submarines to be built at
Karachi Shipyard under transfer of technology programme.
The details were later worked out between the two countries when a Pakistan Navy delegation visited Germany in April.
However recently quoting Pakistani government sources, the Financial
Times Deutschland says President Asif Zardari may overrule his
military’s preference for the German subs to take up a “better offer”
But what better submarines France can offer to Pakistan? That is a
question to ponder because France has no better submarines to offer
Pakistan at the moment whereas French are indeed not ready to offer us
What France has in store? :
There are three options 1. Scorpion, 2. Marlin and 3. Barracuda
submarines. But again the Scorpions are not superior to U 214, neither
these will be having any benefit for Pakistan because French company
DCN is already going to provide Scorpion to Indian Navy ahead of
U-214 is way better than French design given to India. Marlin is
just on drawing board and will take forever to go to prototype stage
and then test and evaluation and finally induction into Pakistan Navy
meanwhile India will have all its Scorpion in sea. DCN (Direction des
Constructions Navales ), France will not be able to fulfill Pakistani
order ahead of Indians. The success of Marlin, or weather or not it
will be better than U-214 German sub cannot be predicted. Currently,
U-214 for the best non-nuclear submarine in the world, and our friends
in Turkey will soon produce it at home with the license of production.
Now the only option for Pakistan will be to ask for Barracuda
submarine but it is unlikely that France will sell us nuclear
submarine. Barracuda is a nuclear powered submarine and France does not
currently allow the sale of nuclear-propelled submarines.
Despite having French Agosta-90B submarines, the Pakistani Navy
opted for purchasing German Torpedoes for fitting to Agosta-90B due to
the superior German technology.
Pakistan Navy needs German submarines because the German U-214 subs are far better than the French Scorpion.
If the current government goes for inferior quality French
submarines then it will indeed give weight to suspicion of many
Pakistanis who see bribes as main factor behind any irrational
decisions viz viz defence deals.
Already the Pakistani senators have demanded in an incamera briefing from Pakistani Naval chief in the Senate.
Whereas some eyebrows have also been raised over the fact that
foreign secretary Salman Bashir in the current government of Zardari is
the brother of Naval Chief, Noman Bashir and there are also some
reports that PIA chairman is going to be named Pakistani envoy to
France. Some political pundits see such an appointment an attempt to
muster a deal for French submarines.
On the other hand submarine acquisition project (SMAP) a group
composed of Naval officers who have recommended U-214 submarines over
other options after extensive study has been disbanded and the officers
have been posted out at different stations.
Though earlier the Germans have delayed the deal due to political
situation of Pakistan but can kickoff cutting of hull for first
submarine immediately after signing the deal.
In such a situation going for something which does not fulfill the
requirement of Pakistan Navy would be tantamount to putting the
national defence at risk.
There is no reason not to go for German submarines specially when
Berlin even granted federal export credit guarantees worth nearly $1.4
billion for the purchase of the same.