LONDON: In an effort to meet its burgeoning defence imports, Pakistan plans to double its defence exports in the near future, a leading defence weekly reported Wednesday.
Pakistan's strategy is to focus on building the Khalid and Zarrar main battle tanks and Mushshak trainer aircraft and earn enough from exporting them to match its defence imports, the Jane's Defence Weekly said in its latest issue quoting country's top defence industry officials.
"Our products have started to mature... today there are things that we can offer that can really interest the whole world," Zahid Anis, Pakistan's secretary for defence production, told the weekly.
"We are sustaining 100 million dollars now and that's good considering we're a new entrant into the market," Maj Gen Syed Ali Hamid, director general of the Defence Export Promotion Organisation, which co-ordinates the export activities of Pakistan's defence manufacturers, said.
"But if we sell one or two of the big-ticket items, say one billion dollar over five or six years, then you're looking at 200 or 300 million dollars a year, which is still just a fraction of the global defence market. But my target is, whatever our import bill is, if we can match our exports to that then I'll be satisfied," he said.
Pakistan's defence exports, currently amounting to about 100 million dollars a year should increase dramatically when the country starts to export Khalids, which could happen in the next couple of years, along with the JF-17 fighter it is developing with China, which could be ready for export by 2008 or 2009, the officials said.