The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is sending 19 of its Shaheen VI/6 aircraft for a bilateral exercise in China, according to Gen. Ahmed Bilal, Pakistan’s Defence Attache to China.
Talking to China Global Television Network (CGTN), Gen. Ahmed Bilal revealed that Pakistan and China have agreed to conduct a series of bilateral defence exercises between their respective navies and armies.
Gen. Ahmed also mentioned that the exercises will take place for 8-10 weeks and hundreds of personnel will be involved.
Importance of Bilateral Exercises
It is important to note that these bilateral and other collaborative exercises with foreign air forces represent one’s own operational practices and technical capabilities. They can serve as a benchmark for defence readiness.
Furthermore, they are also an avenue for increasing bilateral defence ties, especially in terms of training and fine-tuning strategies and tactical maneuvers.
Previous Efforts Made By PAF
PAF has been an advocate of regularly attending bilateral and multilateral air exercises. In fact, last year PAF sent its F-16s to Turkey and U.S. and also held its marquee exercises.
China and Pakistan rotate the Shaheens’ hosting — an annually held bilateral exercise — which involves PAF’s largest detachment for activities on foreign soil.
In the years 2013 and 2015, PAF also held bilateral exercises with Turkish Airforce which were prominently known as the Indus Viper. However, it remains to be seen whether the same event will be held during 2017 or not.