ISLAMABAD, Nov 16: Germany and South Korea have agreed to enter into joint ventures with Pakistan for manufacturing `smart arms and ammunition’ by transferring the latest technology to Islamabad.

Defence ministry sources told Dawn on Thursday that agreement with the two countries would be signed in Karachi on Nov 21 for `co-production’ of latest arms and ammunition.

They said Turkey had also shown keen interest in launching a joint venture.

Officials said the international defence exhibition, Ideas 2006, being held in Karachi from Nov 21-24 would provide an opportunity for detailed interaction with some other countries for joint ventures for manufacturing of arms and ammunitions.

The sources said Germany and South Korea had chosen Pakistan for investment because the country had inexpensive labour and an experienced workforce.

The cooperation with both the countries was expected to help increase Pakistan's defence exports from $200 million to $300 million, the officials said.

The sources said the defence ministry had given go-ahead signal to the Pakistan Ordnance Factories to undertake greater collaboration with the private sector for manufacturing additional arms and ammunition for export.

They said many machines in the organisation were old and labour intensive.

The POF had been directed to go for complete computerisation for improving functional efficiency, enhancing production, curtailing overheads and reducing rejections, they said.

A new armoured personnel carrier (APC), 'Saad, will be introduced at the Ideas 2006. The APC equipped with state-of-the art battlefield management systems, including computerised command, control, communication, intelligence and information systems, was launched in July 2003.

The sources said the government had decided to enhance the capacity of its defence industries as well as those in the private sector to manufacture products of international standard.

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