Pakistan's Musharraf confirms missile purchase from North Korea

Geostrategy Intelligence

Week of July 8, 2003

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said last week that North Korea provided Pakistan with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles during a period of tensions with India last year.

Musharraf denied it had received Scuds or other surface-to-surface missiles from North Korea. But he said "there was conventional [arms] contact in the past."

"Especially in the period when India confronted us on the border there was an escalation for 10 months," he told The Washington Times. "We realized that there is an imbalance in the air [defense] especially. And we thought that can be neutralized by having more surface-to-air missiles, shoulder fired conventional. Which we purchased for our own security."

He did not identify the exact types of shoulder-fired SAMs that were transferred.

North Korea has several types of shoulder-held anti-aircraft missiles, including Russian SA-7s, SA-14s, SA-16s Chinese HN-5s, CSA-3s.

In February 2001, U.S. intelligence agencies reported that Russia sold as many as 3,000 SA-18 SAMs to North Korea. The SA-18s is Moscow's most advanced shoulder-held anti-aircraft missile.

The SA-18 is similar in design to the U.S. Stinger anti-aircraft missile that homes in on targets using an infrared tracking system. The SA-18, also known in the Pentagon as the "Stinger-ski," has a similar infrared tracker and range of about three miles.