BEIJING/ISLAMABAD: China has been extending support to its "all-weather" ally Pakistan with an aim to counter India. The latest in its series of efforts, China is helping Pakistan with the construction of eight submarines to ensure a tough competition to the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean.
According to sources, under Project Hangor, China's shipbuilding industry is building the submarines which will soon be handed over to Pakistan. India, as of now, has 16 submarines while Pakistan has 10. The acquisition of new submarines is a part of Pakistan's effort to scale up its capabilities in underwater warfare.
At a time when instances of Chinese troops infiltrating into the Indian territory is also not new, the submarines will add to Pakistan's strength and are likely to be a headache for the Indian Navy. The move comes at a time when China has already successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for Pakistan which will also help keep an eye on India as they build the strategic $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The launch of the two satellites is yet another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of communication satellite PAKSAT-1R in August 2011.
The satellites -- PRSS-1 and PakTES-1A --- were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China using a Long March-2C rocket. The PRSS-1 is China's first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan. It is the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for an overseas buyer.
It is being said that the PRSS-1 will be used for land and resources surveying, monitoring of natural disasters, agriculture research, urban construction and providing remote sensing information for the CPEC under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the Chinese government.
The USD 50 billion CPEC is a network of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan that will connect China's Xinjiang province with the Gwadar port in Pakistan's Balochistan province, giving China an opening to the Arabian Sea.
The satellite can turn at wide angles to enable the cameras to cover a wider range. The PRSS-1 has an information security design, and the data can be encrypted.