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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China began their fifth joint air exercise, Shaheen-V, at an operational base in Pakistan, a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) spokesman told DawnNews on Thursday.

"A contingent of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) comprising combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crew besides a PAF contingent are participating in the exercises," said the PAF spokesman.

The last such exercise between Pakistan and China ─ Shaheen-IV ─ was conducted in Beijing in October, last year. The exercise saw participation of three different types of frontline fighter aircraft belonging to various PAF squadrons for the first time.

"This exercise will enhance bilateral relationship and capability of the air forces of the two friendly neighbours", said Air Commodore Syed Muhammad Ali.

PAF has been a regular participant in a number of international air exercises with various air forces, including the United States Air Force (USAF), Italian Air Force, Turkish Air Force and other allied countries.

The PAF spokesman said Pakistan and China enjoy very close relationship spanning over six decades. The strategic partnership has been further strengthened through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, infrastructure development and routine joint military exercises, he said.

Related: Pak-China joint air exercise concludes