A Pakistan Air Force official briefs Imran Khan ( in cockpit) about Chinese-built J-10C fighter jet during a ceremony near Islamabad on Friday. AP
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officially inducted its first batch of Chinese-built J-10C fighter jets on Friday, holding a ceremony at the Kamra Air Base near Islamabad with officials from both countries.
Several of the jets flew overhead as Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the purchase, made for an undisclosed amount.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar, Chief of Naval Staff Amjad Khan Niazi, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as well as senior federal ministers attended the ceremony.
The J-10C is larger and can be equipped with a bigger active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar than the one used by the JF-17 Block 3. The aircraft can carry more advanced, fourth-generation air-to-air missiles including the short-range PL-10 and the beyond-visual-range PL-15.
The military had in January confirmed the long-speculated deal with China for the supply of J-10C jets. It had said that the acquisition was being done in view of the regional security matrix that required Pakistan’s armed forces to continuously upgrade their capacity. Many think the J-10C deal is Pakistan’s answer to Rafales bought by India from France.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had told journalists in December that J-10C jets would participate in the March 23 parade.
Imran thanks China
Addressing the induction ceremony of J-10C into PAF, Imran said that no one could cast an evil eye on Pakistan.
Expressing his full confidence in the armed forces, Imran said that the nation is confident that if anyone makes an aggressive move against Pakistan, it would be retaliated by the armed forces with full force.
Imran also thanked China for providing the jets to Pakistan in a "record time of eight months."
"I am glad that our armed forces have a futuristic and forward-looking approach because technology is going to be a great tool for future warfare," he added.
The premier said the country would spend more on its defence as its wealth increased with time.
The prime minister said the entire nation had the confidence that our armed forces were fully capable to defend the country. He recalled that Pakistan's response in the wake of the Balakot intrusion sent a clear message to the world that the country was capable to defend itself. He stressed that developing indigenous technology was the need of the hour, saying "Pakistan is working on it."
Imran noted that Pakistanis were skilled in all modern fields, but they were based abroad. He then expressed the hoped that the country's talent would soon be serving Pakistan. "We can build any institution of international quality and we are very much capable of it."
Earlier, the prime minister was presented a guard of honour by a contingent of the PAF. He witnessed a thrilling fly-past of various formations of aircraft, including the newly inducted J-10C, F-16s, JF-17s and Mirage that showcased an array of avionics and weaponry.
After the fly-past, the prime minister witnessed the landing of five J-10C aircraft.
The prime minister and the service chiefs were later asked to inspect the newly inducted fighter jet from the inside. The premier climbed up into the cockpit with the air chief and the COAS standing next to him as an officer gave them a briefing on the jet's capabilities and functionality.
"It is very difficult for the salaried class, workers and labourers to construct or purchase a house in the cities due to soaring prices of land,” the prime minister told the ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday.
"We can't have the kind of elections which have happened in the past," Imran said. "We need to use EVM technology for transparent elections and I want regular updates on it.”
For quite some time, the area became a battleground between the police and protesters. The government servants had planned the protest for the past two weeks and had made announcements to the effect.
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