Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan in 2021, a Pakistani air force film has been scheduled to hit Chinese theaters on November 13, making it the first Pakistani movie to release in Chinese mainland cinemas in decades.

The film, Parwaaz Hai Junoon, is a 2018 Pakistani military action film directed by Haseeb Hassan. It tells the story of a group of young patriotic cadets who become the best fighter pilots in Pakistan after experiencing all kinds of challenges and hardships, Global Times reported on Friday.

One of highlights of the film is that the JF-17, a fourth-generation fighter jointly developed by China and Pakistan, makes a surprise appearance in the film, which has aroused the interest and expectations of military fans.

The movie also focuses on the growth of female pilots. One Pakistani woman in the film gives up a life of luxury and overcomes many difficulties through the power of love and finally achieves her dream to become a pilot of the JF-17 fighter jet.

The film had a positive reception in Pakistan – it has an 8.1/10 on film platform IMDb – opening well and eventually going on to become the fifth highest-grossing Pakistani film of all time.

The agreement to bring the film to the mainland was signed in April 2019 at a China-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation forum during the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. A film company from Shenyang, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province is in charge of distribution.

The news about the film’s release was hailed by Chinese netizens on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with many taking delight in talking about the friendship between China and Pakistan.

Some netizens recalled how Pakistan offered help to China when the COVID-19 epidemic was at its most serious in the country at the beginning of 2020.

At the beginning of the outbreak in China, the Pakistani government allocated 300,000 medical masks, 800 hazmat suits and 6,800 pairs of gloves from public hospitals around the nation and transported them to China.

After China’s COVID-19 situation improved, the Chinese government and military, as well as the nation’s enterprises and organizations, also lent support to Pakistan, buying and shipping medical supplies including test kits, real-time fluorescent kits, scanners, KN95 masks, gloves, goggles and protective clothing to Pakistan as well as sending medical teams.

In a March interview with China Central Television, President Dr Arif Alvi described the relationship between China and Pakistan say that “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”