Pakistan air force to hold big war games
AFP | September 1, 2005
Pakistan's air force said Thursday it would launch a month of war games at the weekend, its first for ten years, despite ongoing peace talks with nuclear rival India.
The entire fleet, including US-made F-16s, French Mirage fighter aircraft and Chinese-built jets, will take part in the exercise, said Pakistan Air Force Deputy Chief of Operations, Shahzad Chaudhry.
"This is closest to war you can get in peacetime," Chaudhry said. "It is a huge and major exercise, all planes, all radars and all ground assets are being mobilised during the games."
Chaudhry said that during the exercise Pakistan air force aircraft will fly 8,200 operational sorties, the highest ever.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will witness the games at the initial stage while President Pervez Musharraf will inspect the operations in the concluding phase.
The war games were announced as India's top diplomat held talks with his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad to review the slow-moving peace process between the two countries.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since departing colonial power Britain split the subcontinent in 1947, and came close to a fourth in 2002.