Tag Archives: US

Pakistan Military’s Latest Gear

Pakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan - How much is truth

Pakistani officials were fortunate to be greeted with a fresh offer of military hardware – possibly totaling as much as $2 billion over the next five years. This latest gear includes (infact likely to include) night vision goggles, and helicopter spare parts. This is not new for Pakistanis, since 9/11 Pakistan’s gotten lots of big-ticket items from the U.S. military. According to the Congressional Research Service’s tally (.pdf), that includes eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft; six C-130 cargo planes; over 5000 TOW anti-armor missiles; 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles; and even an Oliver Hazard Perry-class missile frigate. And by next year, Pakistan will receive 18 new F-16 combat jets from the U.S. — fighters capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

”There has been some discussion on upgrading the navy’s fleet with retired U.S. ships,” says Shuja Nawaz, a South Asia analyst at the Atlantic Council. The latest addition in Pakistan Navel Fleet is US decommisioned USS McInerney FFG-8 (PNS Alamgir for Pakistan Navy). The ship (shown) is second of Oliver Hazard Perry class of a guided missile frigate. PNS Alamgir’s mission is to provide multi-threat protection for military and merchant shipping, amphibious task forces and underway replenishment groups. This 32-year old ship was sold to Pakistan in US$65 million refurbishment including anti-submarine capability paid for with foreign military aid provided by the U.S. to friendly countries. The transfer of old Navy ships to other countries is done through the Navy’s International Programs Office, which brokers deals through its foreign military sales department. PNS ALAMGIR after necessary maintenance work and training will set sail for Pakistan in January 2011. The ship is a potent addition in Pakistan Navy Surface Fleet and with its onboard weapons and sensors will be able to effectively contribute in the maritime defence of Pakistan.

PNS Alamgir - Commissioned 3rd September 2010 to Pakistan Navy

Considering the latest gear what options does Pakistan have? According the Spencer Ackerman (Wired Magazine) puts it this way:

“Unless al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban have developed an armor corps and a submarine-heavy Navy while no one was looking, these weapons have more utility against the Indians than the terrorists.”

This gear is either a treat from US for Pakistan to use against terrorists or U.S. military seeks to prevent a deepening erosion of a relationship that US can’t live with. This especially true after recent wikileaks suggesting a strong ties between Pakistan and Insurgents. WikiLeaks has freaked out the White House, though, by clearly raising questions about whether Pakistani aid to the Afghan insurgency is far deeper than typically acknowledged. How much truth is in it, I think it will be too early to say anything. However, it’s not a surprising news that the Pakistani ISI has ties to the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami. How much of this money or gear will go to Afgan pockets no one knows, it is only a time who will show a true motivation behind these large spendings on US non-NATO ally. But Is there a silver lining to Pakistan’s relationship with the insurgents? Not known, at least to me. Are things still Koran, Kalashnikov and laptop or do I have to add heat seaker missiles to it as well ?

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Filed under Afghanistan, Attack helicopters, Aviation, Current Affairs, Engineering, Flight Global, ISI, Jinnah's Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy

How Clear are Open Skies

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Singapore has concluded Open Skies Agreements (OSAs) with Barbados, Brazil, Jamaica and Rwanda, at the International Civil Aviation Organisation Air Services Negotiation Conference 2010 (ICAN 2010), held in early July in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Direct air links with Singapore will allow businesses in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbeans to access more markets by tapping on Singapore’s excellent connectivity to the Asia Pacific region. This will reinforce the growing people and trade flows between these regions and the Asia Pacific.

EU transport ministers have signed a second “open skies” agreement with the US at a meeting in Luxembourg.

BBC 24 June 2010

There exists more stories like above, the so called “Open Skies” deals are frequently appearing in news these days. 1992 and onwards brought a change, post 1992 arena airlines felt the need for further liberalisation. Put simply, open skies eases restrictions on air travel between the A and the B. Taking the example of EU and US, Any European airlines is now potentially able to fly to the US from anywhere in the EU – not just from its home nation as was previously the case. And looking it from the other way round, any US airline can launch flights to EU.

Opening Skies

All of this begin, when in 1992 the Dutch and US governments signed the first open skies agreement and inaugurated a new phase of international deregulation. Looking more closely to this deal, the key elements of this bilateral agreement includes open route access, open access for charters, multiple airline designation, unlimited frequency or capacity, code share agreement and most importantly unlimited Fifth Freedom Rights (The right of an airline from country A to carry revenue traffic between country B and other countries such as C or D on services starting or ending in its home country A).

‘‘Open skies’’ policies have also been adopted and actively pursued by a few other states. New Zealand, which signed an ‘‘open skies’’ bilateral with the United States, had secured similar deals with Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, the UAE and Chile by the end of 1999.

However, one question remain unanswered why at first stage these agreements (open skies) were necessary. Well, bypassing the political interests, they were a significant improvement on the ‘‘open market’’ agreements they replaced in several respects, most notably in relation to market access and tariff regulation They opened route access to any point in either country whereas the earlier bilaterals had tended to limit the number of points that could be served by foreign carriers in the United States (for example). Also mutual Fifth Freedom rights were granted without restraint compared to the more limited Fifth Freedom in earlier bilaterals.

But these were little different for Europeans. Unlike US-like bilateral policy In contrast to this the development of a single open aviation market in Europe was to be achieved through a comprehensive multilateral agreement by, initially, the member states of the European Union. In parallel with the liberalisation of air transport regulations, the European Commission felt that greater freedom for airlines had to be accompanied by the effective application and implementation to air transport of the European Union’’s so-called ‘‘competition rules’’. These were designed to prevent monopolistic practices or behaviour which was anti-competitive or which distorted competition to the detriment of consumers. The competition rules cover three broad areas, namely, cartels and restrictive agreements, monopolies and mergers and state aid or subsidies to producers.

The final step required is to move from ‘open skies’ to ‘clear skies’. This is the new challenge for governments and regulators.

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