Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has inducted the 50th indigenously produced Block-I JF-17 Thunder fighter jet produced by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in a ceremony attended by the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday the country's defence strategy was being devised keeping in view the contemporary professional requirements as no battle could be won with outdated technology and discarded strategies. "The new technology and modern expertise have transformed our defence into a great force ... We want that our defence forces should be ever ready for any contingency," he said at the roll-out ceremony of the 50th JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra. The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that the country's military leadership was fully cognizant of the changing environment and was following an agreed and well-integrated approach. "For this reason, we want to ensure that our forces are alert, active and fully equipped with necessary professional skills," he added. Nawaz Sharif said the day marked a glorious milestone in the history of country's aviation industry as well as in the national quest for development and progress. He congratulated Chief of the Air Staff and his team on the successful completion of in-country production of first batch of 50 JF-17 aircraft. He said proud accomplishments marked the history of Pakistan Air Force showing bravado, commitment and courage. He said the skill and passion of 'flying falcons' to conquer the skies assured that the country's aerial frontiers were safe and secure. He said the proficiency of PAF was not limited to the air alone, but it was equally competent to show its mettle in the fields of aircraft manufacture, radar and even the drone technology. The Prime Minister said the whole world acknowledged the acumen and potential of Pakistan's soldiers and it was because of this potential that he had approved the JF-17 project in his previous tenure. He said today he was immensely proud that this project had successfully reached its completion, and the PAF professionals had met the expectations of the nation," he said. Nawaz Sharif said the JF-17 aircraft had not only strengthened the country's defence but also led to the growth of aviation industry. He pointed out that several political and economic compulsions came in the way of project during his last tenure. "But we approved this project disregarding all those pressures as the needs of our armed forces and the defence of the country was our priority. I reiterate my word of honour that even today the defence of the country is as dear to me as it was at that time," he added. The Prime Minister said the JF-17 aircraft development and production was a major flag bearer in the journey towards self- reliance and industrialization and added a glorious chapter in the history of Pakistan's friendship with China. He mentioned other joint projects with China, including Gwadar Port, Chashma Power Project, Karakoram Highway, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the recent Karachi Civil Nuclear Power Plant. He recalled his recent visit to China where several agreements of strategic nature were reached between the two countries. He said the most prominent amongst these was establishing an economic corridor, linking Gwadar to China through Khunjrab Pass, which would have far-reaching impact on the future of country and the region. The Prime Minister quoted the speech of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah during his visit to the PAF Academy at Risalpur on 13th April 1948 as saying: "There is no doubt that any country without a strong air force is at the mercy of any aggressor. Pakistan must build up her air force as quickly as possible. It must be an efficient air force second to none and must take its right place with the army and the navy in securing Pakistan's defence." Nawaz Sharif expressed commitment that the government would meet demands of the defence forces so that their long-standing traditions attain perpetuity.

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