China's Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday began "Friendship 2006," its first joint military exercise with Pakistan Army on Pakistani soil.
The 10-day exercises are aimed at "strengthening the bonds of friendship" between the Pakistani and Chinese armies and benefiting from each other's experience in the planning and conduct of anti-terror activities," the Pakistani defence ministry announced.
The two armies conducted their first-ever joint exercise in 2004. "Friendship 2006" comes within weeks of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit during which Beijing made firm commitments on specific items of defence equipment, while assuring a continuing cooperation on a number of projects including a fighter aircraft and an air borne early warning radar system.
China is Pakistan's principal arms supplier.