China-Pakistan joint air force training amid pandemic shows profound friendship: Experts

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BEIJING, Dec 8 (APP): The China-Pakistan joint air force training amid the COVID-19 pandemic shows the profound friendship between China and Pakistan, which is conducive to improving the comprehensive combat capability of the two militaries, the Chinese experts said on Tuesday.

A batch of Chinese air force troops left for Pakistan Air Force base near Karachi to participate in a joint air force exercise “Shaheen-IX”, a week after the Chinese Defense Minister’s visit to the country, according to Global times.

The Chinese Defense Ministry announced that China and Pakistan would hold the joint air force training dubbed ‘Shaheen-IX,’ which would last until the end of December.
According to the ministry, the joint training, which is one part of the China-Pakistan military cooperation plan in 2020, will play a positive role in promoting the development of military relations, deepening practical cooperation between the air forces of the two countries and improving the actual combat training level of the two forces.

The ministry did not reveal number or type of the aircraft or list of the training programs. This is the ninth time the air forces of the two countries have held “Shaheen” joint training.
The first “Shaheen” joint training was in March 2011 in Pakistan. The last time was held in Northwest China in August 2019 and lasted for half a month. The training in 2019 involved some 50 aircraft, the most personnel and the most complete combat units.

On December 1, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the country.
Wei said China was willing to work with Pakistan to maintain close communication, enhance strategic mutual trust and coordination, push military-to-military relations to a closer level, jointly respond to various risks and challenges, and firmly uphold the sovereignty and security interests of the two countries as well as regional peace and stability.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert told the Global Times that although the timing of the joint air force training this year is later than previous years, the fact that it was held as usual shows the deep friendship between China and Pakistan and the importance the two countries attach to military exchanges.

The China-Pakistan ‘Shaheen’ joint training saga has been conducted on a regular basis and rotated in China and Pakistan.

Fu believes that through years of exchanges the two militaries can learn a lot, especially in the field of actual combat training, which is conducive to improving the comprehensive combat capability of the two militaries.

The confrontations between India-Pakistan and China-India will not affect the normal military exchanges between China and Pakistan, said Fu.

India’s frequent military exercises with other countries have given it little reason to question normal military exchanges among other countries, said Fu.