WASHINGTON: China is likely to consider establishing additional naval logistics hubs in countries with which it has a long-standing friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, “such as Pakistan”, according to a Pentagon report. In its annual report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments in China”, the US Department of Defence claimed that China is looking for countries that have “a precedent for hosting foreign militaries.” But the report also noted that “China’s overseas naval logistics aspiration may be constrained by the willingness of countries to support a (Chinese military) presence in one of their ports.”
The report pointed out that Pakistan remains China’s “primary customer” for conventional weapons and China engages in both arms sales and defence industrial cooperation with Pakistan.This includes joint production of LY-80 surface-to-air missile systems, F-22P frigates with helicopters, main battle tanks, air-to-air missiles, and anti-ship cruise missiles. In June 2014, Pakistan started co-producing the first two of 50 Block 2 JF-17s, which is an upgraded version of the Block I JF-17, the report adds.
“We have noticed an increase in capability and force posture by the Chinese military in areas close to the border with India,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia Abraham M Denmark told reporters after submitting the report to Congress.