Pakistan, China kick off joint air exercise

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Islamabad, April 14 (IANS) Pakistan and China on Thursday began their fifth joint air exercise, Shaheen-V, at an operational base in Pakistan

“A contingent of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) comprising combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crew and a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) contingent are participating in the exercises,” a PAF spokesman told Dawn online.

The last such exercise between Pakistan and China — Shaheen-IV — was conducted in Beijing in October 2015.

The exercise saw participation of three different types of frontline fighter aircraft belonging to various PAF squadrons for the first time.

“This exercise will enhance bilateral relationship and capability of the air forces of the two friendly neighbours,” said Air Commodore Syed Muhammad Ali, official spokesperson for Pakistan Air Force.

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PAF has been a regular participant in a number of international air exercises with various air forces, including the US Air Force (USAF), Italian Air Force, Turkish Air Force and other allied countries.

The spokesman said Pakistan and China enjoy very close relationship spanning over six decades.

The strategic partnership has been further strengthened through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, infrastructure development and routine joint military exercises, he added.

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