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Pakistan, China joint air exercise begins in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News / Reuters) – China and Pakistan air forces on Thursday have begun joint training Shaheen-V exercise in Islamabad.
The exercise is underway at operational Pakistan Air Force (PAF) airbase that will last for two weeks.
The countries call each other “all-weather friends”, with ties underpinned by long-standing wariness of their common neighbour, India, and a desire to hedge against United States influence in Asia.
PAF spokesman said that Pakistan takes these exercises as professional.
“A contingent of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) comprising combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crew besides a PAF contingent are participating in the exercises,” said the PAF spokesman.
“China’s Air Force hopes to widen the scope of cooperation and dialogue with all countries and regions,” the Chinese defence ministry said in a statement, adding that the exercise, called “Shaheen V”.
China’s defense ministry said, as the Army of two nations strengthen operational ties.
China has also long urged Pakistan to weed out what it says are militants from Xinjiang, who may be holed up in the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghan border, a region home to a mix of militant groups.
For its part Pakistan wants to upgrade its air force, now dependent on a mostly outmoded fleet of US, French and Chinese fighter jets that Pakistani officials fear can do little against Indian craft or help target domestic insurgents.
The last such exercise between Pakistan and China Shaheen-IV was held in Beijing in October, last year. The exercise saw participation of three different types of front line fighter aircraft belonging to various PAF squadrons for the first time.

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