Pakistan has acquired a full squadron of 25 multirole J-10C fighter jets from its all weather ally China in response to India's purchase of Rafale aircraft, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said.
Speaking to the media in his home city of Rawalpindi on Wednesday, Rashid said that a full squadron of 25 all-weather aircraft comprising J-10C will attend the Pakistan Day ceremony on March 23 next year.
Apparently, China has come to the rescue of its closest ally by providing J-10C, one of its highly reliable fighter jets.
The minister, who often characterises himself a ‘graduate of Urdu-medium institutions' to poke fun at his elite English-medium colleagues, incorrectly pronounced the name of the aircraft as JS-10 instead of J-10C.
“VIP guests are coming (to attend 23rd March ceremony) for the first time in Pakistan, the fly-past ceremony of JS-10 (J-10C) is being held… Pakistan Air Force is going to perform the fly-past of China's JS-10 (J-10C) aircraft in response to Rafale,” Rashid said.
The J-10C aircraft were part of the Pak-China joint exercise last year, where experts from Pakistan had the opportunity to have a close look at the fighter jets.
The joint exercises started on December 7 in Pakistan and lasted about 20 days, with China sending warplanes including J-10C, J-11B jets, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, while Pakistan participated with the JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets.
Pakistan had a fleet of US-made F-16s, which is considered a good match for Rafale, but it was looking for a new multirole all-weather jet to augment its defence after India purchased Rafale jets from France.
Nearly five years ago, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets under a Rs 59,000-crore deal to boost the Indian Air Force's combat capabilities.