Pak-China Joint Air Exercise “Shaheen-IX” started on Wednesday at an Operational Air Base of Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
The contingent of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), comprising combat Pilots, Air Defence Controllers and technical ground crew was participating in the exercise, said a PAF press release.
The opening ceremony of the exercise was jointly witnessed by Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations), PAF Air Vice Marshal Waqas Ahmed Sulehri and Assistant Chief of Staff, PLAAF Major General Sun Hong.
Major General Sun Hong said: “The Joint Exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two Air Forces”.
Welcomimg the Chinese contingent, Air Vice Marshal Waqas Ahmed Sulehri said: “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the Air Forces, thereby fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries.”
Last month, the longtime allies signed an MoU to further deepen bilateral defense cooperation. The agreement was reached during Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe’s visit to Pakistan.
Pakistan and China already have a strategic partnership, and recent changes in the region have pushed the two allies to closely cooperate with each other.
Wei’s visit was seen crucial amid an ongoing border standoff between China and India on the Himalayan border, as well as deepening of strategic ties between India and the US.
Shaheen-IX was the ninth in the series of Joint Air Exercises which is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis.