Evolving global security situation demands greater cooperation between Pakistan and China, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said on Thursday as the two countries concluded the annual joint exercise of their Air Forces. The Chief of the Air Staff was addressing the closing ceremony of the annual "Shaheen (Eagle)-IX" exercise that culminated at an Operational Air Base of the PAF. China's Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong was also present on the occasion. The existing global security scenario coupled with the evolving dynamics of Air warfare, called for enhanced partnership between Pakistan and China as indeed between our Armed Forces, he said.
The Air chief noted that it was heartening that with every passing year, Pakistan-China friendship became stronger and stronger. Khan also said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was a game changer and manifestation of the common objectives and destiny.
He also expressed his gratitude to General Ding Laihang, Commander PLAAF, for sending a large contingent to participate in the exercise despite COVID-19 pandemic. Ambassador Nong said that both Air Forces achieved many breakthroughs and new heights in a diversified battlefield environment during this exercise.
International and regional strategic situation is undergoing profound changes with growing complexity in the security environment. This calls for the collaboration of our two countries and two armed forces in maintaining peace and stability and to cope with shared challenges, he said. The exercise witnessed participation of modern fighter jets and support elements from PAF and PLAAF.
According to the statement, the 10th edition of the Shaheen series exercise is scheduled to take place in China, next year. The joint exercise followed the recent visit of China's Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe to Pakistan during which the all-weather allies signed a new memorandum of understanding, details of which were not disclosed. Asked whether the exercises between two Air Forces were aimed at conveying a message to India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin during a media briefing early this week had said that drills were part of "routine arrangement".
He said that the drills were not directed against any third country and India should view them objectively. The joint Air Force exercise was a project within the 2020 cooperation plan of the two militaries, the Chinese military had earlier said. All weather friends, China and Pakistan share close military ties with Beijing emerging as a major weapons provider to Pakistan in recent years. China also helps Pakistan to jointly produce JF-17 fighter jets which were recently upgraded with the new Block-3 version.