A joint exercise between the Pakistani and Chinese air forces kicked off in Pakistan on Wednesday, an official statement said.
Shaheen-IX, the ninth round in the Shaheen series of air exercises held annually, began at an undisclosed operational air base, according to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
A contingent of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), comprising combat pilots, air defense controllers and technical ground crew, is participating.
The opening ceremony was witnessed by PAF’s Air Vice Marshal Waqas Ahmed Sulehri and PLAAF’s Maj. Gen. Sun Hong.
While Sun said the exercise would improve the level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces, Sulehri argued it will provide an opportunity to enhance “interoperability” of both the air forces, and fortifying bilateral relations.
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.
* With additional input from News Desk in Ankara