Pakistan conducts military exercise close to Indian border
Pakistan will give a “befitting response” to any “ambitious and reckless move” by its enemies, Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif warned on Wednesday as he witnessed a military exercise in a strategically located area in Punjab province, bordering India.
“Exercise Raad ul Barq (Strike of Thunder) establishes that Pakistan is ready to confront any ambitious and reckless move by its enemies,” Sharif said, while addressing a ceremony, marking the culmination of military exercise in Khairpur Tamewali in Bahawalpur in Punjab, amid growing Indo-Pak tension.
“These exercises reflect the preparedness of our armed forces to respond to any threat to national security,” he said, adding that no country can remain oblivious to threats to its national security.
According to officials, the Prime Minister was the chief guest at the event, which was also attended by Army chief General Raheel Sharif, Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmoud and the three services chiefs.
JF-17 thunder fighter jets, helicopter gunships and Al-Khalid tanks hit designated targets on the ground during the military exercise, which comes a few days after seven Pakistani soldiers were killed along the LoC.
Sharif said his government was committed to following a policy of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs and expected the same from others to enable lasting peace in the region, Radio Pakistan reported. “We cannot remain detached from recent developments in the region. Efforts to harm security and territorial integrity will be met with befitting response,” Sharif said.
Referring to Jammu and Kashmir, he said it remains the core issue of contention between Pakistan and India.
“It must be addressed in a sincere and comprehensive manner, keeping with the aspirations of Kashmiri people and relevant UN resolutions,” Sharif said.
“The brutal tactics used to curb recent spontaneous and indigenous movements in Jammu and Kashmir have been counter-productive...Killing of civilians and soldiers along the LoC is another act of aggression that warrants international attention,” he added.
He added: “The situation at the border remains sensitive due to India’s grave violation of the ceasefire agreement.”
He said: “It is extremely unfortunate that South Asia remains prone to confrontation and the security situation remains fragile.” The Prime Minister said enemies of Pakistan have made their intentions well known. He said terrorism is aimed at Pakistan’s destabilisation and the nation and armed forces are successfully countering their malicious designs.
Sharif had on Tuesday said that Pakistan would not be bullied by Indian “tactics”
and its restraint should not be “misunderstood” as weakness, warning that his country was fully capable of defending against “any belligerence”.
- Exercise Raad ul Barq was conducted in Khairpur Tamewali at Bahawalpur in Punjab
- JF-17 thunder fighter jets, helicopter gunships and Al-Khalid tanks hit designated targets on ground during the military exercise, which comes a few days after seven Pakistani soldiers were killed along the LoC
- PM Nawaz Sharif says Jammu and Kashmir remains the core issue of contention between India and Pakistan
Aziz to visit India for Afghan meet, hints at easing tension
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that he would travel to India to attend the Heart of Asia Conference on Afganistan in December, asserting that the trip could be a “good opportunity” to “defuse” Indo-Pak tension. The conference is scheduled to be held in India on December 3 in Amritsar.
Aziz would be the first senior Pakistani official to visit India since the September 10 Uri attack, blamed on Pakistan-based militants, that led India to pull out of the SAARC Summit in Pakistan in November. Unlike India, that had sabotaged the SAARC summit in Pakistan by pulling out, Pakistan will respond by participating in the Heart of Asia being held in India,” Aziz said.
“It’s a good opportunity to defuse the tension,” PTV quoted Aziz as saying. Aziz, however, said it was not yet confirmed if he would meet his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the conference. The Adviser said US president-elect Donald Trump would deserve Nobel prize if he intervened and succeeded in resolving the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.