Pakistan recently moved to purchase six advanced submarines, with air independent propulsion technology, from China. In an email interview, Vijay Sakhuja, research director at the Indian Council of World Affairs, discussed Pakistan's naval capabilities.
WPR: What is the current state of Pakistan's navy?
Vijay Sakhuja: Pakistan's naval planners have been proactive in attempting to achieve parity and at times superiority over the Indian navy. They have consistently endeavored to introduce newer and more-advanced platforms to the subcontinent, including submarines capable of launching missiles, long-range maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters fitted with anti-ship missiles and more recently the air independent propulsion system for submarines. To that extent, Pakistan is a modern and credible naval power. However, the rapid growth of the Indian navy -- currently employing aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and modern surface combatants -- poses a new challenge for Pakistan, which is now attempting to bridge the force imbalance. Given that it has only a rudimentary indigenous naval shipbuilding capacity, Pakistan is seeking Chinese assistance to address the naval capability gap, by acquiring and jointly building submarines and surface platforms.