Pakistan spends “a very small amount of defense production on research and development,” says Siddiqa. The Ghauri missile — Pakistan’s much-vaunted medium-range ballistic missile, capable of traveling up to 1,500 km and carrying a payload of 700 kg — is simply a renamed Nodong-1 missile imported from North Korea. Drawing on the technology of the North Korean imports, Pakistan is continuing to develop its own longer-range variants — all pointed at India.
“This is what happens in countries that are dependent on foreign technology,” says Ayesha Siddiqa, a military expert and author of Pakistan‘s Arms Procurement and Military Buildup, 1979-99. Much of Pakistan’s military modernization has come about from U.S. arms sales in the 1950s and ’80s. “In Pakistan, we have not really gone beyond license production and reverse engineering.” Siddiqa adds that this is not the first time that Pakistan has been accused of reverse engineering or modification. A U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile that had strayed into Pakistani territory during strikes on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in August 1998 and was recovered intact by Pakistan is widely believed to have provided the basis for its Babur cruise missile.