Iraqi Air Force commander Major General Shihab Jahid Ali Shakarchi
Iraqi Air Force commander Major General Shihab Jahid Ali Shakarchi being presented the guard of honour by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) contingent during his visit to Air Headquarters in Islamabad on October 13, 2020. Image Credit: PAF

Islamabad: Pakistan and Iraq’s Air Force chiefs agreed to enhance the security and defence cooperation between the two countries.

Iraqi air force commander Major General Shihab Jahid Ali Shakarchi visited Pakistan’s Air Headquarters in Islamabad on Monday with his delegation. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan received the Iraqi commander. The air force contingent presented the guard of honour to the visiting dignitary. Iraqi commander also paid homage to PAF martyrs and laid a floral wreath at a martyrs’ monument.

“Both Commanders discussed various matters related to security and mutual cooperation,” PAF said in a statement. “Commander Iraqi Air Force lauded the professionalism of PAF personnel and the exceptional progress made by PAF over the years, through indigenization.”

The Iraqi general held a detailed meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of the Air Staff in which both the dignitaries agreed to further augment the already existing cordial relations between the two air forces. During the meeting, Pakistan Air Chief also highlighted the brotherly relations and partnership between the two countries.

The Iraqi general also called on General Nadeem Raza, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan military, and discussed “Matters of bilateral professional interest and further strengthening of security and defence cooperation” between Pakistan and Iraq.

Pakistan-Iraq military ties

Pakistan and Iraq enjoy close military and security cooperation and recently have agreed to expand collaboration against terrorist threats. Dozens of Iraqi cadets graduate from Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) at Kakul annually. Last year, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa offered security cooperation to Iraq in a meeting with Iraq’s Acting Defence Secretary Lt Gen (Staff) Pilot Muhammad Salim Al Araji.

Talking to Gulf News, defence analyst Shahid Raza, said that Pakistan pays special attention to cooperation with Iraqi Air Force, which was “one of the largest air forces in the Middle East during the early 90s.” Following Iraq’s decision to restructure its air force, “Pakistan can greatly help Iraq in this effort by providing training aircraft, such as MFI-17 Super Mushak, K-8P as well as the JF-17 Thunder Block-III multi-role fighter aircraft, along with unmanned drones, training, Maintained, Repair, Overhaul (MRO) services and advanced munitions” he said.