By Martha Obi, Abuja
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, has assured the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) of the PAF’s commitment towards strengthening the strategic partnership with the NAF, especially in areas of equipment and spares acquisition.
He also promised support in research and development as well as training to further enhance professionalism and build needed capacity for the effective and efficient employment of air power in the on-going fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality in Nigeria.
This was made known by the PAF CAS during a courtesy visit to the NAF CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in Abuja.
In his remarks during the visit, Air Chief Marshal Khan expressed his appreciation to the NAF CAS for the warm reception accorded him and his team.
He restated the commitment of the Pakistan Government to strengthen the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Pakistan, which had spanned several decades and yielded several mutually beneficial military collaborations.
He said the PAF should be seen as a dependable partner that would continue to give maximum support to the NAF.
He emphasised that the NAF and the Nigerian Armed Forces could benefit immensely from the experiences gained by Pakistan in battling insurgency for over 2 decades to overcome the current security challenges facing Nigeria, noting that there were commonalities which could be shared for mutual benefit.
The PAF CAS also commended Air Marshal Abubakar for his visionary, focused and upright leadership while lauding NAF’s pivotal role in Counter Insurgency (COIN) Operations in Nigeria.
Air Marshal Abubakar remarked that Twenty First Century security challenges require strong collaboration and strategic partnerships to successfully overcome them.
He noted that this was the kind of partnership the NAF had enjoyed over the years with the PAF.
“The visit of the PAF CAS to HQ NAF was yet another strong demonstration of the PAF’s commitment this partnership between the 2 Countries and Air Forces.”
He noted in particular that the story of the successes recorded in the COIN Operations in the Northeast of Nigeria would not be complete without mentioning how the partnership between the 2 air forces have impacted positively in the successes recorded in the Northeast and other theaters of conflict.
He recounted several instances when the PAF had gone the extra mile to assist the NAF, including providing the NAF with 4 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft along with instructor pilots and technical crew while NAF’s ordered aircraft were being manufactured.
He remarked that this had enabled the NAF to complete the ab-initio training in record time.
“The CAS equally highlighted that several NAF personnel had been trained in various specialties in Pakistan, with some currently undergoing training there. He also noted that, in furtherance of this partnership, some PAF personnel were also undertaking the Periodic Depot Maintenance on a NAF C-130H aircraft, working hand-in-hand with NAF technicians,”he stated.
Air Marshal Abubakar therefore thanked the PAF CAS for his continued support stating his optimism that his visit would open up more areas of partnership that would take the cooperation to the next level.
The PAF CAS, who is expected to also visit NAF Units and facilities in Kaduna and Lagos, paid a courtesy call on the Honorable Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired), at Ship House Abuja and was hosted to a cultural night at the HQ NAF Officers’ Mess Abuja.