China and Pakistan stage joint air exercise

Updated: 2015-09-07 07:38

By Zhang Yunbi(China Daily)

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The Chinese and Pakistani air forces began joint military training in China on Sunday, a People's Liberation Army Air Force spokesman said.

The drill, code-named "Shaheen-IV" - which means "eagle" in Urdu - is the fourth of its kind between the two neighbors. The location was not disclosed.

It comes at a time when both countries have pledged to toughen their fight against threats including terrorism, separatism and extremism.

PLA Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said: "The Chinese Air Force is ready to expand the scope and domains of cooperation with the air forces of countries around the globe to jointly address various challenges and crises."

Shen said that in recent years, the Chinese and Pakistani air forces have conducted a range of joint training and military exchanges.

During the training, the two countries staged war games between the "Red Force" and "Blue Force", Shen said. The Chinese Air Force used aircraft including fighter jets, fighter bombers and early warning planes, while those used by Pakistan included fighter jets and early warning planes, Shen said.

Wang Xu, a professor of Pakistan studies at Peking University, said the drill was announced amid great transparency and confidence as bilateral political mutual trust had reached new heights.

"We can learn a lot from Pakistan's training philosophy and system, and as the pressure to fight terrorism mounts in northwestern China, such drills could boost China's capacity to tackle tough situations," Wang said.

The Ministry of National Defense released on its website the design of a shoulder patch prepared for the drill. It includes key elements and colors from both countries' national flags.

The first such drill was held in Pakistan in March 2011, the second in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in September 2013, and the third in Punjab, Pakistan, in May last year.

In a visit to Pakistan in April, President Xi Jinping told Pakistani military leaders that China and Pakistan should broaden military cooperation in fields such as joint exercises and training.

Wang, the professor, said that as Pakistan is on its way to becoming a new member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the "Shaheen" series provides a potential new model for boosting anti-terror cooperation among the member states.