Defence Minister opens Pakistan door for local defence industry
The latest foreign foray by the Defence and Military Veterans Minister has, in addition to opening up valuable military contact and relations with Pakistan, also made access to that country’s defence industry easier for a South African defence industry (SADI) currently not riding the crest of any production – or profit – wave. The South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD), with close on 100 members said it was premature to speculate what areas of defence industrial participation could be pursued following Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s visit to Islamabad last month. “SADI has several unique capabilities we’d want Pakistan to consider,” two of the top men in AMD told defenceWeb. President, retired brigadier general Damian de Lange, and executive director, Simphiwe Hamilton, said: “South Africa has entered into several defence memoranda of understanding (MOU) with like-minded and possible partners over the last few years”. “Enabled by the agreements and as with many nations in that area, Pakistan is a key player and partner and SADI is open to prospects from Pakistan.”
They were not prepared to speculate on any specific products, systems or services that could be beneficial to both countries. “It is a bit premature to speculate on what areas of defence industrial collaboration will likely be pursued. Suffice it to say SADI has several unique capabilities we would want Pakistan to consider. We also remain committed to past obligations as well as future prospects in Pakistan,” they said. There is currently no interaction between AMD, as the recognised representative body of the SADI, and its Pakistani equivalent. Hamilton sees the March interaction at Ministerial level as an enabler that could lead to an AMD delegation going to Pakistan and a reverse visit from that country but nothing has yet been finalised.