A German team is due in few days probably on August 5th according tosources to look into possibility of signing the accord for provision ofU-214 submarines to Pakistan Navy.
However reports appearing in the media suggest that the deal may hitsnags due to change of mind in the current Pakistani government overpurchase of German submarines.In 2008 Pakistan Navy under chief of navel staff Admiral MuhammadAfzal Tahir made efforts for including German 214 Class submarines inits fleet and owing to Navy’s persistent efforts, the government hadapproved plans for acquisition of these submarines to be built atKarachi 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 FinancialTimes Deutschland says President Asif Zardari may overrule hismilitary’s preference for the German subs to take up a “better offer”from France.
But what better submarines France can offer to Pakistan? That is aquestion to ponder because France has no better submarines to offer Pakistan at the moment whereas French are indeed not ready to offer usnuclear submarine.
There are three options 1. Scorpion, 2. Marlin and 3. Barracudasubmarines. But again the Scorpions are not superior to U 214, neitherthese will be having any benefit for Pakistan because French companyDCN is already going to provide Scorpion to Indian Navy ahead ofPakistan.
U-214 is way better than French design given to India. Marlin isjust on drawing board and will take forever to go to prototype stageand then test and evaluation and finally induction into Pakistan Navymeanwhile India will have all its Scorpion in sea. DCN (Direction desConstructions Navales ), France will not be able to fulfill Pakistaniorder ahead of Indians. The success of Marlin, or weather or not itwill be better than U-214 German sub cannot be predicted. Currently,U-214 for the best non-nuclear submarine in the world, and our friendsin Turkey will soon produce it at home with the license of production.
Now the only option for Pakistan will be to ask for Barracudasubmarine but it is unlikely that France will sell us nuclearsubmarine. Barracuda is a nuclear powered submarine and France does notcurrently allow the sale of nuclear-propelled submarines.
Despite having French Agosta-90B submarines, the Pakistani Navyopted for purchasing German Torpedoes for fitting to Agosta-90B due tothe 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 Frenchsubmarines then it will indeed give weight to suspicion of manyPakistanis who see bribes as main factor behind any irrationaldecisions 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 thatforeign secretary Salman Bashir in the current government of Zardari isthe brother of Naval Chief, Noman Bashir and there are also somereports that PIA chairman is going to be named Pakistani envoy toFrance. Some political pundits see such an appointment an attempt tomuster a deal for French submarines.
On the other hand submarine acquisition project (SMAP) a groupcomposed of Naval officers who have recommended U-214 submarines overother options after extensive study has been disbanded and the officershave been posted out at different stations.
Though earlier the Germans have delayed the deal due to politicalsituation of Pakistan but can kickoff cutting of hull for firstsubmarine immediately after signing the deal.
In such a situation going for something which does not fulfill therequirement of Pakistan Navy would be tantamount to putting thenational defence at risk.
There is no reason not to go for German submarines specially whenBerlin even granted federal export credit guarantees worth nearly $1.4billion for the purchase of the same.