The air forces of Pakistan and China are jointly exercising ‘Shaheen-VIII’ in Chinese city of Holton, close to the Indian border near Ladakh. The annual joint training is the eighth of its kind between the two countries since it was first launched in March 2001, according to the Chinese media.
The joint training does not target any third party and aims to improve training standards of the two air forces through mutual learning, according to reports.
News agency ANI reported that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is keeping a close eye on the Pakistan-China aerial exercise in which both the countries have deployed latest fighter jets.
Why is India alert?
Islamabad is participating with its JF-17 fighter aircraft while China is taking part with their J-10 and J-11 fighters.
"The exercise codenamed Shaheen is taking place in the Hotan city which is more than 200 km north of Leh city in Ladakh. The Pakistanis have staged their fighters in the Skardu area of Gilgit Baltistan region before going into China," IAF officials said.
The war games had started three days ago where China and Pakistan started active flying to enhance interoperability and jointness.
Pakistan is one of the biggest recipients of the Chinese military, which includes missile technology, fighter planes and warships.
After the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, both China and Pakistan have expressed concerns over the decision.
What Shaheen VIII means for India?
The exercise touted as the means to enhance close relations between the all-weather allies, however, has drawn a sharp reaction from India, with the Indian Air Force claiming it will watch all developments closely.
Pakistani JF-17 planes have passed through the Skardu airbase in Gilgit Baltistan, a semi-provincial area occupied by Pakistan, which India claims is a part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and is an integral part of the country.
The Pakistanis have used the base after a long time to join the Chinese Air Force which has built several bases in the northern region with India.