Is China Really Selling the ‘Liaoning Aircraft Carrier’ to Pakistan?

There were reports that China is planning to sell Liaoning Aircraft Carrier to Pakistan. However, Chinese military expert rejected the baseless reports stating that Beijing will not sell its Liaoning aircraft carrier to Pakistan. The Chinese aircraft carrier, as per speculations, was to help Pakistan in competing against arch-foes, India.

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Pakistan’s news agency The Nation quoted  Chinese and Russian media saying, “the Chinese government has decided to sell its first and only aircraft carrier to Pakistan, “for a yet-undetermined price in order to upgrade the Pakistan Navy’s capabilities.”

The news report stated that “Such a move will make the Pakistan Navy more competitive against arch-rival India, which has an operational aircraft carrier”. Though the Chinese government has never revealed any plan regarding such a deal.

An RT report on the topic, quoted by The Nation may be traced through an earlier report by the US defence website on February 5, which claims that an official media report disclosed such a deal.

The US website said that the Liaoning Aircraft Carrier, which was commissioned into China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in September 2012, will serve for about 18 years, while Pakistan’s Gwadar and Karachi have already been described by Chinese Navy strategists as a “logistics base” and “PLA Navy base,” respectively, this does mean that the carrier could be sold to Pakistan by 2020. Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and commentator said:” It is a groundless allegation and complete falsehood.”

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The Chinese Military Expert said that Liaoning Aircraft Carrier which is China’s first-ever aircraft carrier acts as both training vessel and combat warship, that there is a zero possibility of reselling it, and China does not have spare carriers to sell to Pakistan.

However, it is estimated that China will have at least five aircraft carriers, including two nuclear-powered ones by 2030-2035. Although China’s Ministry of National Defense has not yet announced a plan for future carriers. Chinese Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said at a press conference in November 2018 that the development of China’s aircraft carriers will be based on the country’s overall plan.

The Chinese Military expert, Song Zhongping said: “Pakistan’s main focus is to maintain its own strategic nuclear capabilities rather than to promote the improvement of conventional capabilities, especially the improvement of offshore capabilities.

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