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Pak's biggest wargames on near India border

Last updated on: April 20, 2010 22:20 IST

Image: Pakistani army tanks take part in the military exercise
Photographs: Staff Photographer/Reuters

More than 50,000 Pakistani troops backed by tanks and artillery and air force elements began their biggest ever wargames recently codenamed Azm-e-Nau 3 along the eastern border with India.

Azm-e-Nau (New Resolve) 3 Exercise is aimed at training troops for the threat of a conventional war with India, military officials said.

The exercise, which began on April 10, will go on till May 15.

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Pak conducts biggest ever wargames

Photographs: Stringer Pakistan/Reuters

The wargame, the largest maneuvers conducted by the Pakistan Army since the Zarb-e-Momin exercise in 1989, involves troops from all arms and services and aircraft and equipment of the Pakistan Air Force.

The maneuvers, conducted in the desert of Khairpur Tamewali near Bahawalpur, is also a test of the army's "preparedness to face new challenges and gives the soldiers a real feel of a warfare mission," state-run APP news agency reported.

The heavy firepower of the armed forces is being witnessed by more than 30 military attaches of different countries.

Pak conducts biggest ever wargames

Image: Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman witnessing the exercise
Photographs: ISPR

The Pakistan Army is using homemade Al-Khalid tanks and Anza Mark II missiles, while the Air Force is using not only US-made F-16s, but also locally assembled JF-17 Thunder aircraft.

The massive firepower of Al-Khalid tanks and JF-17 Thunder also proves that locally made weapons are as good as the imported ones.

The exercise is also the culmination of a process of wargames, discussions and evolution of a concept of warfare that is 'fully responsive to a wide menu of emerging threats', the report said.

Pak conducts biggest ever wargames

Image: Kayani visits a communications centre
Photographs: ISPR

The training is mission-oriented and based on the prevailing security environment. The Pakistan Air Force's ongoing High Mark 2010 exercise has been integrated with the army wargame.

The exercise is also aimed at validating and refining concepts formulated during the year of training initiated by army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The Pakistan Army has traditionally perceived India as its main threat though security experts, including those from the US, have said the force now needs to focus on tackling the Taliban and other militant groups active along the western border with Afghanistan.

Pak conducts biggest ever wargames

Image: Pakistan troops in action
Photographs: ISPR
The six-week-long military exercise is being seen as a message to India, as the exercise is being held on in areas close to the Indian border.

The message coming out is that Pakistan is vigilant on its eastern border, despite being heavily engaged on the western border carrying out operations in South Waziristan, Khyber and Orakzai.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has underlined the need for high state of preparedness to guarantee peace and security.

"Our democratic system, economic potential, vibrant population, national unity, consensus and armed forces all provide strategic stability against all possible threats to our great country," The News quoted Gilani, as saying.

Pak conducts biggest ever wargames

Image: Kayani takes part in a briefing on the conduct of the exercise
Photographs: ISPR

Gilani added that Pakistan was standing against forces of extremism and militancy, while bearing a very heavy cost to its economy and prosperity.

"The world today finds Pakistan standing as a bulwark against forces of extremism and militancy. It is in this struggle where nation pledges to support armed forces in spirit, with its youth and its entire resources," Gilani said.

The Prime Minister also emphasised that Pakistan and its armed forces are fully committed in a fierce struggle on its western border and are continuing to retain their capability to deal with all possible threats in the region.