KAMRA, Pakistan: The Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Thursday said that self-reliance through indigenization was the only means to bolster national defence.
In his address at a ceremony to mark handing over of JF-17 Thunder jets to Pakistan Air Force (PAF) at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra, the minister said that the government was committed to fund the PAF’s operational readiness especial its JF-17 programme in future as well.
The defence minister said that Pakistan was a peace-loving country and wished to maintain peaceful relations with international community especially with neighbours.
However, he added that at the same time, the government stood determined to safeguard Pakistan’s national interests and borders against any aggression.
The minister lauded the great role PAF played in anti-terror military operation Zarb-e-Azb. He said that this 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.
This year 16 JF-17 Thunder jets have been manufactured jointly by China and Pakistan, and their induction will strengthen the country’s defence.
It may be added that Pakistan Air Force already has more than 70 JF-17 Thunder fighters.
In his address, the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said that JF-17 fighter jets had the capability comparable to any advanced fourth generation aircraft across the world.
Earlier, a ceremony to hand over JF-17 Thunder jets to 14-Squadron of PAF was held at Kamra Airbase.
The Defence Minister Khawaja Asif attended the ceremony as the Chief Guest. The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Amman was also present.
The defence minister inspected the guard of honour followed by an impressive fly-past. He also reviewed the newly fighter jets.