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Growing security and military nexus between Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar and Malaysia may become threat to India in future

Pakistan has managed to avoid being placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist for now following support from all-weather ally China, traditional ally Turkey and Malaysia. The FATF charter mandates support of at least three member states to avoid the blacklisting. The development has come as a relief for the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government, but Pakistan government sources said the danger is still not over as a formal decision of the FATF on blacklisting is to be announced in October this year. The FATF meet in Orlando, US, in Jan 2020 discussed the blacklisting of Pakistan. ET had reported first that it was unlikely that Islamabad may be blacklisted in this (June 16-21) meet.

 

China is helping Pakistan become a defense exporter that sells arms to countries like Myanmar and Nigeria. Technology transfers from China have enabled Pakistan to begin producing military hardware on its own. This is true with the fighter jet that now forms the backbone of Islamabad’s defense strategy. Pakistan is also increasingly foraying into the production of tanks and other equipment for land forces thanks to technology transfers from China.

 

India imposed curbs on refined palm oil and palmolein imports from Malaysia, a move in retaliation after the latter’s criticism of Indian actions in Kashmir and the CAA.  The Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a notification declaring the import of refined palm oil “is amended from Free to Restricted”.

 

Diplomatic ties between India and Turkey have been frayed since September 2019 when Erdogan supported Pakistan’s attempts to internationalise the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. In a ‘tit-for-tat’ response, the Indian government had expressed concern about Turkey’s ongoing invasion of Syria. Reports have emerged of Turkey preparing to send its fighters in East Syria to Kashmir. Andreas Mountzouralias, a Greek journalist in his report titled ‘Erdogan sends mercenaries to Kashmir’ on Pentapostagama has detailed the plans of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the report, this is part of Ankara’s attempt to extend its influence to Muslims in South Asia amid President Erdogan’s ongoing steps to challenge Saudi Arabia’s dominance of the Islamic world.

 

Abu Emsa , who is the head of the brigade of Suleiman Shah, a gang that joined the Syrian National Army (SMO), said Turkish officers would also ask the commanders of other SMO gangs to state the names of those who would like to go to Kashmir. He said those leaving his gang would join the list and receive $ 2,000 in funding. He told members of his gang he met in Schiege that Kashmir is as mountainous as Karabakh.

 

The military support of Turkey  including military training and equipment has been crucial factor in Azerbaijan’s victory. Turkey exported drones (and likely electronic warfare equipment) to Azerbaijan. Dozens of Armenian soldiers awoke to this new reality on the 27th of September when Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs started releasing Roketsan MAM-L Smart Munitions over Armenian positions, striking at least three 9K33 Osa and three 9K35 Strela-10 mobile surface-to-air missile systems. These systems appeared just as unaware and incapable of tackling the drone threat overhead as the Russian Pantsir-S1s in Syria and Libya, and all were destroyed without ever knowing what hit them.

 

The Azerbaijan first sent an unmanned single-use drones converted from old biplane with a single propeller engine which baited the Armenians into thinking as a real threat and activating their radars and missile batteries, which disclosed their positions. he Azerbaijan drone that had been encircling the area then came in and destroyed them. “If we had not obtained these [drone] capabilities, it would be much more difficult for Azerbaijan to destroy a military buildup of 30 years, including tanks and artillery,” Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev told Turkish state-owned TV channel TRT. Turkey’s highly efficient use of drones and supporting electronics warfare systems has boosted its increasingly assertive international role and growing political and military weight.

 

Turkey is rapidly enhancing its military capability and defense industry.

In 2022, Turkiye’s heavy Akinci drone broke Turkish aviation history by flying at 11,594 metres for nearly 26 hours, well within the operational range of most fighter jets. With its 20-meter wingspan and one-ton carrying capacity, the large drone can be paired with Roketsan’s lightweight Smart Micro-Munitions for longer flight times and high precision. Precision is a major hallmark of Turkish drones. Their appropriate use in Syria and the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict showed the world they could lower collateral damage and offer defensive options to countries without large conventional air forces.

 

Not to be outdone, Turkiye also saw the release of a number of smaller tactical drones with swarming capability, facial recognition, and finally, a drone equipped with a steel-melting laser with a 500 meter range.

 

Turkish defense companies having become notable drone makers and exporters, with the country now challenging established drone makers like China, Israel and the U.S. Turkish defense company Baykar Defense officially announced the export of TB-2 drones to Qatar and Ukraine in 2018. However, according to many defense and security analysts, those drones are also currently flying in Libya and Azerbaijan. Chief Technology Officer Selcuk Bayraktar told local media in September that the company has exported drones to four countries, but did not elaborate.

 

Fedai, a Turkish defence company also announced an anti-drone missile platform, cementing its hold on the industry that’s revolutionizing how nations of the world are approaching defence and military operations.

 

Turkish Aerospace Industries has also reportedly secured a customer. Defense News reported in March that TAI had won an order from the Tunisian government for six ANKA-S drones and three ground control stations, including technology transfer worth $240 million. TAI officials declined to comment. Ismail Demir, a top government official in charge of the defense industry, told Nikkei Asia, “I do not know any other country which is more generous than Turkey, especially in terms of technology transfer.” He also said Turkish drone makers are talking to at least seven countries about drone exports.

 

Turkiye finally launched its first national Altay tank prototypewith  360 degree automatic target acquisition, active trophy defences, modular chemical reactive armor, and a 120mm 55 calibre smoothbore gun promising top-tier accuracy. In 2021 was the year Turkiye announced the mass production of a series of unmanned ground vehicles, force multipliers in the field that increase the survivability of its own military personnel.

 

2021 was also the year of hypersonic missiles. Turkiye’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) announced the continued development of the SAPAN electromagnetic gun, which can accelerate projectiles to hypersonic speeds without the use of chemical propellants. Aside from counter-hypersonic capabilities, TUBITAK continues to work on ramjet supersonic missiles, and precision-guided missiles such as the SOM. 2021 was the year Turkiye tested its first indigenously-produced the Siper long-range missile defence system, designed in response to frequent missile fire from Syria and set to enter the army’s inventory in 2023. The SOM are a class of autonomous, low-observable precision cruise missiles that pack more explosive power in smaller, more accurate rockets, offering heavy firepower to small and large drones alike.

 

In April 2021, Turkish companies Ares Shipyard and Meteksan have unveiled anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the ULAQ Unmanned Surface Combat Vehicle (USCV). Turkish companies Ares Shipyard and Meteksan have unveiled anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the ULAQ Unmanned Surface Combat Vehicle (USCV). First AUSV’s missile systems are inclusive of 4 cells of Cirit and 2 of L-UMTAS, supplied by our national missile systems provider ROKETSAN. It completed its first firing test successfully on 27th May 2021. The ULAQ can be deployed from combat ships. It can be controlled remotely from mobile vehicles, headquarters, command centers and floating platforms.

 

Along with the missile systems, AUSV will be equipped with different variations of communication and intelligence systems like jamming and electronic warfare systems to correspond diverse operational needs. AUSV will be able to carry out joint operations with complementary forces. Furthermore, AUSV is not only a remotely controlled vehicle but also and more importantly an autonomous vehicle that hosts artificial intelligence. After the first prototype vessel, other USVs for the operations like surveillance and intelligence, mine counter measures, anti-submarine warfare, fire-fighting, search and rescue missions, will be manufactured.

 

Turkey’s Islamist internationalism under Recep Tayyip Erdogan has inevitably led to its deeper alliance with Pakistan, greater meddling in South Asia, and a downtrend of relations with India. Turkey has become the most active international supporter of Pakistan on the Kashmir question. In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has rallied behind Erdogan’s ambition to seize the leadership of the Islamic world from Saudi Arabia.

 

For turkey, Media reports have suggested that a consortium of Turkish shipyards could lose a contract to provide assistance to Hindustan Shipyard Limited in Visakhapatnam to build five 45,000 tonne fleet support ships for the Indian Navy. The fleet support ship project, announced in 2016, aims to provide the Indian Navy with auxiliary vessels that will ferry weapons, food, equipment and other items to replenish ships deployed at sea.

 

The consortium of Turkish shipyards, led by Anadolu Shipyard, was selected to partner with Hindustan Shipyard in May. Anadolu Shipyard was to provide design assistance and equipment for the fleet support ship contract, which is estimated to have a total value of around $2.3 billion. Construction of the first fleet support ship was expected to be over in four years.

 

The Economic Times reported security concerns have been raised about close ties of Turkish shipbuilders and the Pakistan Navy. The Economic Times added the access to Hindustan Shipyard by the Turkish partner could result in serious security issues. This is on account of Hindustan Shipyard’s proximity to the Ship Building Centre, where the Indian Navy is building its nuclear-powered submarines.

 

Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey have cultural, social, religious and civilisational ties. Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey have also “strategic dialogue/partnership” which reflects the real essence and strength of their relations. Governments and people of Turkey and Azerbaijan have been very kind and supportive to Pakistan and its people since inception.

 

 

Turkey-Pakistan military relations

In a major development, Pakistan’s Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), General Nadeem Raza, visited Turkey from 27th March to 2nd April 2021. The discussions held during the meeting reveal that Pakistan wants Turkish forces to replace NATO and American forces as withdrawal of forces is expected amidst the ongoing Afghan Peace Process and Intra Afghan Negotiations. According to reports, Afghanistan was the central issue of discussion between officials of both countries. Further, Pakistan also conveyed that through the help of the Haqqani Network (HQN), it has already managed to convince the Taliban to allow Turkish forces to continue their deployment as well as to send more troops to Afghanistan. General Raza also met Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar for discussions on content and form of deployment of Turkish armed forces in Afghanistan and assured him of every possible help on Pakistan’s behalf.

 

Turkey and Pakistan recently upgraded their military and strategic relationship. Describing the Ankara -Islamabad equation, Turkish Air Force Chief General Hasan Kucukakyuz stressed that “Turkey will always stand by Pakistan through thick and thin,” while addressing officers at the Risalpur air force base in Pakistan. In 2009, the High Level Cooperation Council which was established between the countries and then upgraded to High Level Strategic Cooperation Council. Several meetings of the council were held, and more than 60 agreements and documents have been signed so far within this mechanism.

 

Facing constraints in updating the F-16s provided by the US for its air force, Pakistan asked Turkey for help and it has now become Pakistan’s second-biggest arms supplier after China. Up until now, the most important defense deal between Islamabad and Ankara has been the procurement of four MILGEM Ada Corvettes for the Pakistani navy, while the largest ever defense contract has been the sale of 30 Turkish T129 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan for $1.5 billion. At the same time, Turkey also purchased training planes from Pakistan recently.

 

Turkey is emerging as a new player in the international submarine business. A Turkish Navy submarine was spotted passing through Istanbul on January 30 with new equipment.  This appears to be the business end of the locally developed Zargana anti-torpedo defense system. The Zargana Countermeasure System has been developed by Aselsan to protect submarines from incoming torpedoes. It does this by launching salvos of acoustic ‘deceptors’ and ‘jammers.’ These are small torpedo-like objects which are launched from tubes under the submarine’s casing. The deceptors imitate the acoustic and movement characteristics of the targeted submarine. This misleads the torpedo into homing in on the wrong target. Meanwhile the jammers emit a broadband high-level noise that drowns out the operating frequencies of most acoustic (sonar) homing torpedoes. This sort of decoy system is known as ‘soft kill’ in defense circles.

 

Turkey is actively marketing the Zargana system. It is known to have been exported to Indonesia for their own Type-209 submarines. And Turkey is upgrading some of Pakistan’s Agosta class submarines with the system. These French designed boats will carry part of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent in the form of the Babur cruise missile. Turkish companies are also modernising Pakistan’s fleet of French-designed conventional submarines. Over a decade ago, the Pakistan Navy chose a Turkish design for its new class of missile-armed small craft.

 

Another deal, worth $80 million, was signed between Pakistan’s government and a Turkish contractor in 2013 for the construction of a tanker for Pakistani Navy. In 2015, Turkey and Pakistan also agreed to cooperate in development and production of tactical unmanned aerial vehicles.   Turkey announced that it would provide Pakistan with 34 T-37 fighter-cum-training aircraft and its spare parts on a gratis basis.

 

In 2016, TAI agreed to modernise the Pakistan Air Force’s fleet of F-16s at a cost of $75 million. A Turkish defence contractor won a contract for the mid-life upgrade of the second of three Agosta 90B-class, also known as Khalid-class, diesel-electric attack submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion systems in service with the Pakistan Navy.

 

“They have now set up MOUs (memorandums of understanding) in research and development and future prospects of potentially producing aviation and other military assets. Both militaries also face threats from sanctions and embargoes from the Capitol Hill. So it will bring them even closer in objectives,” Alam added.

 

In future Turkey could supply Pakistan it’s deadly military drone and Electronic warfare systems which could affect India. Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for Azerbaijan on the Upper Karabakh conflict, the premier’s office said.

 

Besides assisting Turkey in its ambitious Afghanistan plan, another motive behind the General Nadeem Raza visit was to fast-track the inclusion of Turkey as a part of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and accelerate building an alliance between the three. The emergence of a China-Pakistan-Turkey nexus on nuclear proliferation and Pakistan coordinating on capacity building of the three countries has already been flagged by watchdogs and media. Erdoğan has already expressed his desperation on developing the ‘Caliphate atom bomb’ to fulfil his neo-Ottoman aspirations, and China and Pakistan have been facing charges of illegal sale of missiles and creating a clandestine proliferation market, as concluded by the website greekcitytimes.com.

 

Pakistan Azerbaijan

It should be noted that Pakistan is one of the first countries, which officially recognized the independence of Azerbaijan (December 12, 1991) and diplomatic relations between countries were established on June 9, 1992. Today, Pakistan is the only country that has not established diplomatic relations with Baku’s main foe, Armenia. The bilateral strategic cooperation between these two countries embraces the economic, cultural, political, and especially defense fields

 

The two countries signed a defense agreement in May of 2003, which allows Azerbaijani military staff, in particular special force units, to take part in annual military drills along with Pakistani armed forces. Over the past decade, Pakistani military experts trained about a hundred Azerbaijani military units.

 

Azerbaijan is holding talks with Pakistan to purchase JF-17 Thunder fighter bomber aircraft. In 2019–2020, the mass production of JF-17 Block 3 fighters is scheduled. Azerbaijan is interested in purchasing Super Mushak bomber aircraft.

 

Malaysia-Pakistan Military Ties

Both sides have been exploring collaboration in their military-to-military ties, including through their Joint Committee on Defense Cooperation (JCDC), which was set up in 1997. On 15 April 2018, it is further reported that Pakistan and Malaysia were in preliminary discussions about the potential export of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft

 

On 17 February 2019, Royal Malaysian Navy Ships KD KASTURI and KD MAHAWANGSA arrived in Karachi to participate in the bilateral MALPAK-II exercise. Pakistan Navy’s ship PNS Saif, PNS Azmat, long-range maritime aircraft and helicopters participated in the Malpak exercise II. Bilateral exercise was carried out in Arabian Sea

 

Malaysia and Turkey

The Turkish firearms manufacturing company, Trabzon Gun Industry Co. (TİSAŞ) has signed a preliminary protocol with Malaysia to establish a weapons factory in the country with an investment of $10 million. As per a Malaysian spokesman, "Malaysia has initiated preparations for the infrastructure for production, setup and testing almost 20,000 units annually. As part of the efforts we will make with our partner company, investments, and therefore indoor production areas, will expand for production.

 

Turkey and Qatar

Turkey and Qatar, indeed, have been engaged in a de facto partnership over the last decade, based on common opposition to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They are also united in support for Sunni political Islam across the region in its Muslim Brotherhood form, and not least in its Palestinian iteration – the Hamas movement. Pakistan and Malaysia are natural recruits for this emergent bloc. India appears currently to be its main diplomatic target.

 

Ankara, Islamabad and Kuala Lumpur, with Qatar as an additional partner, today constitute an emergent power nexus, built around a common orientation toward a conservative, Sunni political Islam, writes  JONATHAN SPYER. This nexus is united as much by common enmities as by common affections. Its enemies, are India, Israel and (at the rhetorical level) the Christian West.This emergent alliance is a reflection of a shift in power in the Islamic world away from its traditional Arab center.  Its rivals within the diplomacy of the Islamic world, meanwhile, are Saudi Arabia, which has traditionally dominated the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the main pan-Islamic diplomatic body, and the UAE.

 

 

 

 

 

References and Resources also include

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/opinion/turkey-pakistan-upgrade-strategic-partnership/

https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/turkey-pakistan-malaysia-and-qatar-form-troubling-new-alliance-629519

https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2020/09/the-fight-for-nagorno-karabakh.html

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/turkiye-s-top-7-major-defence-industry-breakthroughs-in-2021-explained-53086

 

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