Defence analysts said the planned air force expansions were part of an arms race between India and Pakistan that dates back to the 1960s and the height of the Cold War.
The South Asian neighbours, both of which possess nuclear arsenals, have fought three wars and as many regionalised conflicts since gaining independence from British colonial rule in August 1947.
Siemon Wezeman, senior fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfer programme, said: "Although India and Pakistan deny it, an arms race is on. India wants to become a regional power, and is building its arsenal accordingly, while Pakistan wants to maintain a rough parity for survival" in the event of another conflict.d
His comments came after an announcement by the Pakistani minister for defence, Ahmed Mukhtar, that Pakistan is to acquire 50 advanced JF-17 Thunder warplanes, to be co-produced with China at a factory about 50km west of Islamabad.
The new warplanes would carry an Italian "avionics package" that is far superior to the Chinese technology installed on the 30 aircraft currently being acquired by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), military officials close to the project said. More >>>