KAMRA: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif says self-reliance through indigenization is the only means to bolster national defence.
He was speaking at a ceremony to mark handing over of sixteen JF-17 Thunder jets to Pakistan Air Force at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra Thursday. Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the Government is committed to fund the PAF’s operational readiness especially its JF-17 programme in future as well.
The Defence Minister said Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wishes to maintain peaceful relations with international community especially with neighbours. However, he said, at the same time, the government stands determined to safeguard Pakistan’s national interests and borders against any aggression. The Minister lauded the great role PAF has played in operation Zarb-e-Azb along with Pakistan army. This has not only brought peace and normalcy to the country, but also put Pakistan on a fast economic track.
Khawaja Asif thanked China for its support in co-production of JF-17 Thunder aircraft. He said this aircraft is not only an example of dedication of personnel but speaks volume of our all weather friendship with China. He said Pakistan values the support of Chinese brothers.
He said today PAF is one of the leading and most respected airforces across the globe. He said the PAF has proved equal to the job at toughest times. He said PAF will stand fast in facing any threat be it internal or external. He said PAF is fully capable to meet any challenges.
In his address, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said JF-17 fighter jets have the capability comparable to any advanced fourth generation aircraft across the world. Earlier, a ceremony to hand over sixteen JF-17 Thunder jets to 14-Squadron of Pakistan Air Force was held at Kamra Airbase on Thursday. PAF already has over 70 JF-17 Thunder jets in its fleet.
Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif attended the ceremony as the chief guest while Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman was also present. The defence minister inspected the guard of honour followed by an impressive fly-past. The new fighter jets were also displayed at the ceremony and were inspected by the defence Minister. The JF-17 Thunder, a single-engine multi-role fighter jet, and was jointly developed by China and Pakistan. Development on the aircraft started in 1999, and the maiden flight was conducted in 2003.