A friendship between China and Pakistan is continuing to strengthen — following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Islamabad earlier this week — as Beijing has promised to deliver another 50 JF-17 Thunder fighter jets to its South Asian neighbor over the next three years, the head of Chinese aircraft industry said, according to a report from The Times of India.
China has already delivered a total of 60 JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan since the two countries inked a contract back in 2007. After the delivery of another batch of 50 combat aircraft from China, Pakistan will have a total of 110 JF-17 jets.
The JF-17 Thunder is also built in Pakistan as China has already transferred its technology, however Pakistan needs these additional jets at a faster pace amid its fight against Taliban militants, The Times of India said.
During Xi’s visit, the two countries signed a total of 51 agreements to boost economic cooperation in addition to launching a $46 billion economic corridor that will link China’s western region to Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.
China and Pakistan have long maintained close political and military relations, based mostly against its common foe of India. However, recently China has improved relations and strengthened its cooperation with India. Xi’s recent visit was aimed at reassuring the Pakistani government that their relations remain robust.