China, Pakistan Air Forces Hold International Air Drill

Ready for action
A few of the 29 AH-64E Apaches flown by the Republic of China Army (Photo: ROCA)

China's People's Liberation Army Air Force and Pakistan's Air Force recently commenced a joint air dill. The drill takes place at an air base owned and operated by the Pakistan Air Force. The drill dubbed as Shaheen VII started on Sunday.

Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang said that the exercise will advance the military ties of the two countries. He added that the exercise also aims to promote the defense capability of the two countries. The military exercise will take place in Bholari Air Force Base in Pakistan within this week.

In a statement acquired by Tehran Times, Senior Colonel Guoqiang said, "The high-level cooperation and exchanges in different services between the two militaries show great mutual strategic trust between the two militaries." He added that the military will continue to promote President Xi Jinping's commitment towards building a strong military and the advancement of training for combat.

Regarding its military activities on the domestic front, China highlighted the need to promote training in terms of combat-readiness and joint-operations. There is also a growing need in terms of conducting training in theater commands, as well as quality training when it comes to arms handling and related services.

In a statement released to the public, a Pakistani Air Force spokesperson confirmed that their Chinese counterpart sent a sizeable contingent composed of pilots and air defense controllers. The Chinese air force is also expected to bring technical crews, bombers, fighters, and the early warning AWACS aircraft.

As the name suggests, this is the seventh iteration of the Shaheen international drill. The last Shaheen drill was held at a Chinese air base.

Reports suggest that the military exercise will help enhance the relationship between the two countries. The exercise also aims to develop various mechanisms of interoperability for both air forces. A spokesperson for the Pakistani Air Force said that the exercise will put a lot of emphasis on the training of its air and ground crew. It is also important to note that Pakistan regularly holds air training exercises with Air Forces of some of its allies.

China and Pakistan are longtime strategic partners, both militarily and economically. The two countries also maintain a high level of cooperation in terms of defense and security. Testament of this high-level of cooperation is the formation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or (CPEC). This handles all infrastructure development and routine military exercises between the two countries.

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