By Joseph Erunke – Abuja
The Pakistani Air Force has promised to increase its defence cooperation with its Nigerian counterpart (NAF) in the fight against insurgents in the country.
To this, the Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, assured the Nigerian Air Force of the PAF’s commitment towards strengthening the strategic partnership with the NAF.
Anwar Khan, speaking Tuesday, at a courtesy call he paid on the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in Abuja, said the partnership would specially in areas of equipment and spares acquisition, research and development as well as training, amongst others..
A statement by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, quoted the Pakistani Air Force boss as saying the partnership had become necessary to further enhance professionalism and build needed capacity for the effective and efficient employment of airpower in the ongoing fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality in Nigeria.
In his remarks during the visit, Air Chief Marshal Khan expressed his appreciation to Abubakar for the warm reception accorded him and his team.
According to the statement, 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.”
The statement further read:” He added that 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 two 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 CounterInsurgency (COIN) Operations in Nigeria.
“Speaking earlier, 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. He said 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 theatres 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 specialities 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.
“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.”