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This photo shows a Chinese navy submarine. — AP/File
This photo shows a Chinese navy submarine. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Naval officials informed the Standing Committee on Defence Monday that the federal government has endorsed a summary to get eight submarines from China.

Pakistan's military has long been a major importer of defence equipment, particularly from key ally China.

After the Cold War ended Pakistan began to deepen defence and economic ties with China.

Take a look: With new JF-17, Pakistan aims for boost to defence exports

The committee was informed that Secretary of the Economic Affairs division Muhammad Saleem Sethi would be leaving for China tomorrow where the issue is expected to come under discussion.

The officials also said that the national security committee will give the final nod to go ahead with the plan to get eight submarines from China.

"Other proposals are under consideration as well. The Pakistan navy is also in touch with Germany, Britain and France to purchase used submarines," officials informed the committee.

Keeping in view the level of threat and the present status of submarines, naval officials said Pakistan needed the latest submarines.

The naval officials also revealed that France had refused to provide submarines to Pakistan.

They said there seemed to be various reasons behind France's refusal to sell submarines to Pakistan — including an issue of technology transfer. On the other hand, they said France was selling its submarines to India.

The naval officials rejected some committee members' concerns that Chinese technology was not of satisfactory quality.They said there was no such issue at hand as JF-17 has proven to be a world class military jet.

The officials informed the standing committee that Pakistan's defence relations with Russia were also improving.

On the other hand, there appeared to be a divide among committee members whether Pakistan should send troops to Saudi Arabia.

Defence Secretary Lieutenant General (retd) Alam Khattak said that the Pakistan Army would abide by the government's decision on whether to send troops to Saudi Arabia to partake in a military campaign in Yemen.

This was the first time that the defence secretary spelled out the official stance of the Pakistan Army on sending troops to Saudi Arabia to partake in a military campaign in Yemen.

His brief comment came in response to a volley of questions by committee members as to whether military troops would be sent to the Saudi kingdom.

Chairman Sheikh Rohail Asghar maintained that the Pakistan Army should chase terrorists regardless of their location but women members belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) had a different point of view.