Pakistan has acquired a full squadron of 25 Chinese multirole J-10C fighter jets in response to India’s purchase of Rafale aircraft, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said. The minister told reporters in his home city of Rawalpindi that a full squadron of 25 all-weather aircraft comprising J-10C will attend the Pakistan Day ceremony on 23 March.

“VIP guests are coming for the first time in Pakistan, the fly-past ceremony of J-10C is being held…the Pakistan Air Force is going to perform the fly-past of China’s J-10C aircraft in response to Rafale,” Ahmed said.

The J-10C aircraft were part of the Pakistan-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 7 December 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 the country was looking for a new multirole all-weather jet to augment its defence after India purchased Rafale jets from France.

China is a close ally of Pakistan due to various clashing points between Beijing and New Delhi across South Asia as Asia’s two major powers compete with each other to secure their political and economic interests in the strategically vital region.

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