In a rare declassification of sensitive arms trade information, China has revealed that it has sold an advanced missile tracking system to Pakistan at a time when Islamabad is looking to actively develop its military arsenal.
That China is helping Pakistan militarily has long been suspected by the international community. The sale of the missile tracking system, still, comes as solid evidence about how Beijing is trying to prop up Islamabad in a possible bid to eventually tilt South Asia's balance of power. This sale, in particular, has significant security implications in the region as the unprecedented deal helps Pakistan gain a valuable tracking and measurement system. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Pakistan has already deployed the system "at a firing range”, for use in testing and developing its new missiles.
What is the advanced missile system all about?
* The system is crucial for missile testing and has high-performance telescopes with laser ranger, cameras,infrared detector and centralised computer system.
* It is capable of recording HD images of a missiles' trajectory - from being launched to all the way when the warheads are deployed.
* It claims to provide cutting-edge visual information about a missile's flight path - helping in development and application.
While details about how much Pakistan paid China to get the system has not been revealed, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has said that China is the first country to provide Pakistan with such a sensitive military equipment. This also comes just two months after India test fired Agni-V ICBM that has a range of 5,00kilometresrs - capable of targeting Beijing and Shanghai. The information about the deal also comes on a day when India test-fired its supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from Rajasthan's Pokhran test range.
Security experts and analysts mostly agree that while India is far ahead of Pakistan in terms of long-distance ICBMs and supersonic cruise missiles, Pakistan is looking at developing multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) which are capable of carrying several nuclear warheads with different targets.