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Pak in talks with Russia for buying MI-35 attack helicopters


Afghan National Air Corps MI-35 helicopters. A file photo.

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan is in negotiations with Russia for buying its MI-35 attack helicopters and a deal could be clinched within two months, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain has said.

"I hope we will be able to materialise this project (to buy MI-35 helicopters) in two months," he said while talking to reporters here on Monday.

Pakistan and Russia had signed a deal regarding the sale of four MI-35 attack helicopters in August last year, which was the first major defence deal between the two Cold War-era adversaries.

Soviet Russia had banned the sale of military hardware to US-allied Pakistan after the Cold War period and the Afghan war in 1980s, but relations started improving after the two countries signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement to strengthen military-to-military relations in November 2014.

Hussain also said that the JF-17 aircraft, jointly produced with the Chinese help, were capable enough to meet all defence requirements of the country.

Pakistan had a fleet of state of the art JF-17 Thunder aircraft which carried all specifications of any advanced fighter jet, Hussain was quoted as saying by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

Pakistan was at top among the 10 countries having JF-17 fleet, he said, adding that the country's defence was impregnable and had the capability to meet all challenges.

The minister's statement about the importance of JF-17 aircraft came even as the US Congress recently refused to partially fund eight F-16 jets which US has agreed to sell to Pakistan.

JF-17 Thunder is a third-generation fighter co-produced by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation.

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