As China’s presence in Pakistan grows through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), their strengthened military ties are coming into the spotlight. This is a security relationship that flows at multiple levels, from hard security of nationals on the ground building projects to joint military research and construction projects.
As a leader intimately involved in the China-Pakistan security relationship from the ground up for many years, former Vice Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force, Air Marshal (rtd) Shahid Latif has worked on the Sino-Pakistani security relationship since the signing of the Strategic Defence Pact with China and will explore the regional implications of this relationship.
Air Marshal Shahid Latif joined the PAF in 1971 and commissioned in 1974. Latif was the first pilot to ferry the F-16 from USA to Pakistan in 1982, and formed part of the pioneer team for training pilots in Pakistan on the F-16 weapon system. He flew numerous combat missions at the height of the Afghan war in the 1980s. On being promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, he took over the JF-17 project and served for five years as Chief Project Director. The completion of this fighter aircraft in less than three years is a record in recent aircraft development history. The JF-17 entered into the PAF in 2007 and is now replacing all aircraft on the PAF inventory as existing F-16s reach the end of service. On completion, Shahid was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal and appointed as the Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations) and from 2006 served as Vice Chief of the Air Staff.