Aircraft Carriers are symbols of national pride, economic prosperity and military might. They are floating sovereign territories of a nation that owns it. Armed with extremely potent weapon platforms, they can pound an enemy’s navy and coastal cities with precision ammunition.
There are only nine countries in the world that possesses and operate an aircraft carrier. They are China (1), France (1), India (1), Italy (2), Russia (1), Spain(1), Thailand (1), United Kingdom (1) and the United States (11).
Aircraft carriers are big, bulky and extremely expensive to build, operate and maintain. Factoring in the total life-cycle costs of an associated carrier air wing, five surface warships and one fast-attack submarine, plus the nearly 6,700 men and women to crew them, it costs about $6.5 million per day to operate each strike group. This sums up to an approximately US $2.37-bn p.a.
Pakistan’s Navy is one of the smallest in the world with exactly 5 Submarines and 9 Surface Warships most of them old and out-dated. But it still dreams of catching up with India with an aircraft carrier battle group to patrol the Arabian Sea and enter India’s backyard.
Pakistan, since its existence from 1947, tried to match India at every step, is left so far behind that Pakistan’s total GDP is ten times smaller than India’s. It spends around 18.5% of national government expenditure on its defense. Pakistan’s military forces are the sixth largest in the world in terms of active military personnel and the largest among Muslim countries.
It is this madness of competing with a giant like India in military might has made Pakistan bankrupt. The top establishment led by Imran Khan is literally running from post-to-post begging for financial aid to bail out its collapsing economy. It has literally sold its sovereignty to China in the name of CPEC.
The possibility of Pakistan ever being able to acquire an Aircraft Carrier is lesser than Somalia becoming a Super Power, unless big daddy China gifts one of its old junk carrier like it did with the JF-17.
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Article written exclusively for www.DefenceNews.in