Defense sector key as Türkiye, Pakistan deepen ‘perfect’ ties: Envoy

Defense sector key as Türkiye, Pakistan deepen ‘perfect’ ties: Envoy

Turkish defense industry has achieved ‘spectacular success’ under President Erdogan’s leadership, says Pakistani ambassador

By Gozde Bayar

ANKARA (AA) – Türkiye and Pakistan enjoy “perfect” bilateral relations and are working to enhance cooperation in various spheres, particularly in the realm of defense, according to the Pakistani ambassador to Ankara.

Both countries have “strong defense industries and capabilities,” which has allowed them to “benefit from one another’s experiences and expertise,” Ambassador Yousaf Junaid told Anadolu in an interview.

“The Turkish defense industry has achieved spectacular success under the leadership of President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan, defying all odds and challenges in the past two decades,” he said.

The two countries have deepened their partnership through collective research and development, and pooling of resources, including through exploring long-term joint ventures, said the envoy.

He said the Pakistani and Turkish militaries also have an “excellent relationship” reflected through their regular joint exercises, mutual visits, and trainings.

“The collaboration between Pakistan and Türkiye for the construction of MILGEM class warships not only has unique value for the Pakistan Navy’s capability enhancements, but also prominently stands out as a defining moment to further cement the bonds of friendship between our two nations,” he said.

Under the MILGEM project, Türkiye’s Military Factory and Shipyard Management Inc. (ASFAT) has simultaneously built ships in Türkiye and Pakistan for the Pakistan Navy.

The agreement was signed in September 2018, with the first ship launched in August 2021, the second in May 2022, and the third in November 2022.

The fourth warship, christened PNS Tariq, was launched on Wednesday in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, at a ceremony attended by Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

In his speech at the event, Yilmaz emphasized Türkiye’s desire to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in defense and other sectors to further strengthen their bilateral relations.

Regarding diplomatic and other high-level contacts between Islamabad and Ankara, Junaid said the frequent leadership-level exchanges “are a defining feature of the eternal bonds of friendship between the two countries.”

Pakistan and Türkiye concluded their sixth session of bilateral political consultations in the first week of July, while a high-level military delegation was just in Istanbul for the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF), he added.

- Situation in Indian-administered Kashmir

Aug. 5 will mark four years since India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, a region held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.

Pakistan has repeatedly raised objections over New Delhi’s 2019 move, which have been consistently dismissed by India.

Junaid reiterated those views, accusing the Indian government of “breaching international law, norms and practices” by “illegally and unilaterally” rescinding the region’s special status.

Since then, India has “sent additional troops to perpetuate its illegal occupation of the region,” he said.

“This was followed by unprecedented draconian curbs on the fundamental rights and freedoms of Kashmiris,” he said.

“These actions were aimed at altering the disputed status of the occupied territory in blatant violation of international law, including the UNSC resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

He said Indian forces “continue to conduct cordon-and-search operations, put down protests violently, indiscriminately use pellet guns, imprison Kashmiri political leaders, abduct and torture children.”

India has “imposed an atmosphere of intimidation and repression to silence Kashmiris,” he said, accusing New Delhi of trying to change the region’s demography “through various illegal acts and administrative measures.”

He said India has been “bringing settlers from outside to disenfranchise local Kashmiris and make them a minority in their own land.”

He also accused India of human rights abuses in the region, including arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings, saying that at least 780 Kashmiris have been killed in the region over the past four years.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with Pakistan. According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989.​​​​​​​

Junaid alleged that India has arrested and targeted Kashmiri leaders, human rights defenders, and journalists on trumped-up charges to suppress the Kashmiri resistance movement.

India has repeatedly denied accusations that it has engaged in any violations by revoking Kashmir’s special status, or that it is pursuing a policy of demographic change or repression of the local population.

- Support for Kashmiris

Junaid asserted that Pakistan will continue to stand with Kashmiris “in their rightful struggle.”

“Pakistan will continue to fulfill its obligations and extend its unwavering support to oppressed Kashmiris,” he said.

He also lauded the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as “one of the great supporters of Kashmiris’ rightful cause.”

“OIC has passed several resolutions clearly recognizing the right of self-determination of Kashmiris and asking India to stop its human rights violations,” he said.

“In addition, parliaments of several countries, including the US, UK, and the European Parliament have discussed the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and lent their support to Kashmiris.”

He also praised Türkiye for its “principled and vocal support for the just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.”

Ankara’s principled position and support is “a source of comfort” for Kashmiris, he added.

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