Turkish and Pakistani special forces' three-week-long joint military exercise began in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday.
The opening ceremony of the exercise ATATURK-XI 2021 was held at the Pakistani military's Special Service headquarters in Tarbela, located in Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, which borders neighboring Afghanistan, a statement from the Pakistan Army said.
Turkish Special Forces and troops of the Pakistani military's elite Special Services Group are participating in the exercise.
The exercise includes counterterrorism, close quarter battle, cordon and search, rappelling, fire and move techniques, helicopter rappelling, compound clearance, hostage and rescue, and free-fall operations.
"The joint military exercise will further strengthen the bond of two brotherly nations and will help in adapting the emerging trends in military modernization and cooperation," the statement said.
Turkey and Pakistan have a well-established relationship spanning decades. On top of the nations' political and economic interactions, many Turkish humanitarian agencies, including the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), are active in the country, providing assistance to those in need. During President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Pakistan in February 2020, the two countries signed a series of memorandums of understanding (MoU) aimed at boosting bilateral trade, economic engagement, communication and cultural ties.
The trade volume between Pakistan and Turkey has risen from around $600 million (TL 4.5 billion) to $800 million over the last five years.
In July 2018, the Pakistan Navy signed a contract for the acquisition of four Turkish-built MILGEM corvettes with Turkish state-owned defense contractor ASFAT. According to the plan, two corvettes will be built in Turkey and the next two will be built in Pakistan which also involves technology transfer.
In October 2019, Erdoğan along with then-Pakistan Navy chief Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi had cut the first metal plate of the first MILGEM Ada class corvette during a ceremony in Istanbul.
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