Munich (Germany), Feb.14 : Germany may approve the sale of three naval submarines made by ThyssenKrupp AG's HDW unit to Pakistan, ignoring the concerns of opposition lawmakers who claim the step might help stoke an arms race in the Indian Ocean.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's arms export council needs time to decide whether to go ahead with the sale, according to a government statement appearing on the German parliament's Web site.
According to a Bloomberg report, the German Government will take decision based on its assessment of the unrest in Pakistan as the country prepares for February 18 elections, as well as potential human rights abuses and economic interests.
Navy material generally cannot be misused for internal repression or human rights infringements and the regional conflict with India doesn't have a naval component,'' the government said. Though a decision on the sale is still pending, such a step would help secure jobs at Kiel-based HDW for several years,'' it said.
The opposition Green Party fears that selling the U214 submarines will help push tension between India and Pakistan to the seas. Powered by silent fuel-cells, the deep-diving U214s are difficult to detect and their acquisition may spur a new arms race by forcing a potential foe to upgrade interception technology, the Greens say.
Merkel's government has indicated to Pakistan that it will approve the sale and will provide a Hermes export guarantee worth 1.3 billion euros (.9 billion) for HDW, the Greens said in a preamble to the government statement. Merkel's export council, comprising Cabinet ministers, convenes in secret.
Bloomberg quotes German lawmakers as saying that the submarine exports would not comply with Germany's foreign and security policy interests'' and would infringe arms export rules.