Updated March 28th, 2024 at 19:21 IST

Pakistan Debuts Haider and VT-4 Tank Platforms as it Combats Rising Militancy Incidents

Pakistan's military recently showcased the Haider platform, locally produced VT-4 main battle tank, and HQ-9/P surface-to-air missile system.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Pakistan Army | Image:AP

Islamabad: Pakistan's military exhibited its latest defense capabilities during the March 23 Pakistan Day Parade in the capital, unveiling several new defense programs and equipment to enhance its security posture. Among the highlights was the introduction of the Haider platform and the debut of the locally produced VT-4 main battle tank, a product of collaboration with China. Manufactured by state-owned armored fighting vehicles manufacturer Heavy Industries Taxila, the VT-4 tank showcased during the parade marks a significant milestone in Pakistan's indigenous defense production.

In a display of enhanced air defense capabilities, Pakistan showcased the long-range HQ-9/P surface-to-air missile system, which entered service in 2021. Despite its shorter range compared to its Chinese counterparts, the HQ-9/P significantly enhances Pakistan's aerial defense capabilities. Additionally, the military presented the Fatah 2 guided multiple-launch rocket system and the medium-range Ababeel ballistic missile, in a display of maintaining a credible deterrent against regional threats.


Escalating Violence in Pakistan

Experts suggest that Pakistan's unveiling of the PFX Program, aimed at replacing the JF-17 combat aircraft, underscores its commitment to modernizing its defense capabilities in the face of continued aggression by militant groups. While details about the program remain limited, ongoing design work signals Pakistan's proactive approach to addressing evolving security challenges. Furthermore, the presence of the Ababeel missile in the parade may be interpreted as a response to recent developments in the region, showcasing Pakistan's readiness to respond effectively to emerging threats.


Notably, In a significant escalation of violence, Pakistani security forces thwarted an attack by a separatist group targeting a government building near the Chinese-funded Gwadar port in Baluchistan province on March 20, 2024. The assailants initiated the assault with a suicide bombing near the Gwadar Port Authority complex, followed by gunmen armed with hand grenades targeting security forces. The swift response from security personnel resulted in the neutralization of all eight terrorists involved in the attack. However, three security forces personnel lost their lives in the ensuing shootout. Fortunately, all Chinese nationals working at the port remained unharmed during the incident.

Furthermore, Pakistan security forces conducted an overnight raid on a militant hideout in Dera Ismail Khan, located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, resulting in the elimination of four insurgents. The operation, carrried out on March 26 yielded a significant cache of weapons, ammunition, and explosives, underscoring the persistent threat posed by militant groups in the region.

Basheer Zeb Baloch, leader of Baloch Liberation Army

This raid followed an attempted infiltration by insurgents from the outlawed Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) into a navy air base in Baluchistan province. In the ensuing shootout in Turbat district, one soldier and four attackers were killed. Despite the confrontation, no damage was inflicted on the Siddiqui air station. BLA claimed responsibility for the attack, highlighting the ongoing conflict between separatist groups and security forces in the region.

Focus on technological advancements

Developing advanced defense systems poses inherent challenges, including cost implications and complex development timelines. In light of this, Pakistan may explore collaboration opportunities with partner countries, potentially importing key subsystems to expedite the PFX Program. Collaboration with Turkey, a notable partner in defense endeavors, remains a viable option, while continued cooperation with China underscores the longstanding defense ties between the two nations.

Analysts anticipate that the PFX aircraft will prioritize advanced features such as stealth capabilities, state-of-the-art radar systems, and beyond-visual-range missiles. These advancements are essential to ensuring Pakistan's readiness to counter emerging threats and maintain a strong defense posture in an ever-evolving security landscape. The Pakistan Day Parade served as a platform to showcase not only the country's military prowess but also its commitment to technological innovation and strategic preparedness in safeguarding national interests and ensuring regional stability. 


Published March 28th, 2024 at 19:21 IST