At the close of the decade Pakistan finds itself in an evolving military landscape. In 2019 it faced multi-pronged threats from multiple frontiers. In the east it had to engage India in a high-stakes conflict with advanced military systems and weapons, with the threat of ever-increasing escalation always in the background. In the west, residual militancy from terrorist groups such as ISIS and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had to be constantly monitored and neutralized with the deployment of a large infantry force, with weapons suited for both urban and mountainous guerrilla warfare.

Given this hostile environment, Pakistan needs to maintain an effective, diverse and modern military for its survival. A struggling economy, a changing landscape in Afghanistan, and a hyper-nationalist India will put pressure on the government to keep up with this standard.

It is good to see that Pakistan - long dependent on importing these vital military equipment - has recently been focusing heavily on indigenous weapon development. As a result, between 2010-14 and 2015-19, arms imports by Pakistan decreased by 32% and 39% respectively. While Pakistan continues to be the 11th largest arms importer in the world, this change in priorities has allowed it to break into the arms export market with great effect.

The export of JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighters to countries such as Malaysia and Nigeria have brought in a new, and sizeable, revenue streams. Indigenous development of air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM) – such as the Ra’ad II – and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) – such as Burraq, operational since 2014 – have reduced dependence on imports.

Despite these notable successes, Pakistan will still need to import to meet its security needs. The government needs to insure that a robust economy exist to fund these procurement, and that local research and development heavily incentivized.