ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and scientists achieved another milestone on Wednesday with successful test-firing of an indigenously-built extended range smart weapon from JF-17 multi-role fighter aircraft.
The successful trial has provided JF-17 Thunder with a very potent and assured day and night capability to engage a variety of targets with pinpoint accuracy, the PAF announced. It is indeed a great milestone, as the weapon has been developed, integrated and qualified solely through indigenous efforts of Pakistani scientists and engineers, it said.
Lauding the efforts of Pakistani scientists and engineers, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of the Air Staff, has congratulated the PAF personnel on the achievement of this monumental indigenous capability.
“Pakistan is a peace-loving nation, but if it was subjected to aggression by the adversary, we would respond with full force,” he maintained. It may be recalled that Wing Commander Noman Ali Khan and Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqui had shot down Su-30 and MiG-21 aircraft of the IAF with their JF-17 multi-role fighter aircraft on February 27. The two IAF aircraft were hit by Pakistani pilots on crossing the Line of Control (LoC).
The pilot of MiG-21 aircraft whose debris fell inside Azad Kashmir was captured and later handed over to the Indian authorities as a gesture of peace as promised by the prime minister.
The development and production of JF-17 Block 3 are underway aimed at enhancing its informatised warfare capability and weapons, Chief Designer of the China-Pakistan co-developed fighter jet, Yang Wei said.
All related work is being carried out to upgrade the JF-17 Block’s informatised warfare and weapons, according to a report of China Aviation News. Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst told Global Times that the JF-17 Block 3 is likely to be fitted with an active electronically scanned array radar, which can gather more information in combat, enabling the fighter jet to engage from a farther range and attack multiple targets at the same time. A helmet-mounted display and sight system could also allow pilots to aim whatever he sees.
Pakistan, the main user of the JF-17, could further share information between the fighter and other platforms taking advantage of the whole combat system to effectively defend against strong opponents, Wei said.
With the new upgrade, the JF-17 Block 3 will match an improved version of the F-16 fighter jet, he added. JF-17, or the FC-1, is a single-engine multi-role light fighter jet jointly developed by China and Pakistan for export.
Meanwhile, Pakistan did not shy away from raising the issue of fighting terrorism, when on Tuesday it pointed to the evolution of the National Action Plan after the horrific incident of the Army Public School attack and said that this was a watershed moment for the entire nation.
“Obviously, fighting terrorism is a global and regional challenge and Pakistan has taken a lot of action, political steps to eradicate this menace,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is on his first official two-day visit here. He said Pakistan is taking steps for eliminating extremism.
Both the foreign ministers met at the Foreign Office after which they held a joint press conference. During the talks, the two sides discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.
“The foreign minister welcomed the entry of German automobile producer Volkswagen into the Pakistani market and investment by Siemens in power generation and medical sectors. He also invited other German companies to take advantage of the investor-friendly policies of Pakistan,” a statement from the Foreign Office said.
The two sides exchanged views on the evolving regional situation. The foreign minister briefed his German counterpart on the Indian aggression against Pakistan’s territorial integrity, which was in violation of the international law.
Pakistan responded in self-defence and acted with restraint. Pakistan has taken a number of steps to de-escalate tensions with India, including release of the captured Indian pilot, reactivation of hotline between DGs Military Operations and meeting at Attari in connection with opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.
Later, Qureshi said that he has drawn his German counterpart’s attention towards human rights violation in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). “Pakistan thinks it needs to be addressed immediately. Dialogue is the only way forward. Pakistan has never been shy of dialogue,” he added.
The German dignitary was briefed on the regional situation and Heiko Mass pointed out that there should be dialogue for de-escalating tension between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute.
Heiko Mass also lauded the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to release the Indian pilot and pointed out that Imran Khan’s offer of dialogue to India would lower tensions prevailing now.
Qureshi pointed out that he had told the visiting dignitary about the situation inside IHK which was ‘delicate’ and “If there are human rights violations, if there are atrocities, then there will be a reaction and that reaction, at times, is difficult to contain”. “Pakistan has never been shy of dialogue,” said Qureshi, adding that this view was also prevailing inside India itself.
Heiko Maas pointed out that Germany had acknowledged all efforts made by Pakistan to lower tensions and when earlier he had met with the Indian foreign minister he had pointed out that the a peaceful solution to Kashmir was the key.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas while commenting on the Afghan peace process lauded Pakistan’s continued efforts. He added that Germany was satisfied with the role that Pakistan was playing and this had its own importance. He stated that Pakistan’s role was pivotal in Afghan peace process, adding that Germany was satisfied over the dialogue.
The foreign minister said that there are excellent investment opportunities in Pakistan and vowed that Germany will extend cooperation to Pakistan in various sectors, including the economy.
Qureshi said that in this regard he had suggested to the German foreign minister that a joint foreign trade chamber could also be set up and this would lead to a positive step towards enhancing bilateral trade between the two sides.
Pakistan also stressed the importance of facilitating Pakistani students with visas as they chose Germany as a destination for higher education. A proposal of setting up ‘partnership schools’ was also raised.
Pakistan has also revisited its policy on INGOs and in this regard the German foreign minister was told that three of those German political foundations which had not been allowed to operate inside the country would now be able to do so as all obstacles have been removed.