Widodo shows interest in JF-17

INDONESIAN President Joko Widodo held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday which also saw the two sides signing MoUs in the realms of energy, trade and training whilst the decision for cooperation in the defence field was left to the Committee to be formed jointly by the two countries. If followed up properly, the agreements undoubtedly could prove to be vital in taking the bilateral relations to upward trajectory and bring the two largest countries of Islamic world closer to each other which is also need of the hour given the challenges faced by the Muslim Ummah today.
The way Widodo concluded his two-day visit by sitting in the JF-17 thunder fighter jet and reviewing its operational capabilities at Nur Khan Airbase also indicates the Indonesian interest and desire for deeper defence cooperation with Pakistan. Widodo’s gesture also leaves the impression that Pakistan may also expect another export order for JF-17 which over the years has further been upgraded with new radar and electronic systems. These improved capabilities and low price tag indeed make the fighter jet more competitive in today’s defence market and this is the reason that Pakistan reportedly has already got a number of export orders from some countries. Back in 2010 in the era of PPP, Pakistan had offered JF-17 to Indonesia but the deal could not be struck due to reasons unknown. But today as the JF-17 laced with modern technology has left its marks in various air shows leaving the spectators dazzled, it is time that our government step up efforts for the export of the aircraft as the resources generated will help further take forward our defence industry. As regards defence cooperation with Indonesia is concerned, it has been going on for years but remained confined to mere staff and student exchanges, visits, and engagements but time has come to expand them to the next level. This indeed will be a win-win situation as both the sides are producing a series of high tech defence products and cooperation and sharing of experience and technology will really be a major stride not only to become fully self reliant but also provide the Muslim and third world countries an alternative platform to procure the products that meet their defence requirements.

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