Large-scale military exercises are underway in Pakistan: the nation’s most extensive in over two decades. The exercises’ purpose are to showcase Pakistan’s military might and its ability to readily engage with enemy forces but not to intimidate any particular nation, according to one official.
Named "Azm-e-Nau III", the exercises will run for four weeks and began on 18 April with a display of firepower, according to a high-ranking military official. In all, 50,000 Pakistan Army soldiers – close to 10 per cent of the branch’s total manpower - will participate.
Pakistan Troop Exercises
Addressing ideas that Pakistan’s troop exercises could be seen as an international warning, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani – the head of the Pakistan Army – stressed that the country knew it had a responsibility to preserve localised peace and stability.
The 18 April Pakistani firepower demonstration included a live UAV targeting simulation, where the locally-assembled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was tracked by the Orlikon anti-aircraft gun.
The Pakistani Army was established in 1947 and its members have been engaged in various conflicts including with insurgent forces in recent times. Among the equipment used by the Pakistan Army are ex-Soviet Union T-80 tanks, US-built M113 armoured vehicles and US, Russian and European-made helicopters like the Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunship and the Mil Mi-17 troop transporter. A number of these took part in the opening firepower demo, along with combat jets supplied by the Pakistan Air Force.
Azm-e-Nau III Military Exercises
Addressing media representatives prior to the Azm-e-Nau III military exercises getting underway, Director General of Military Training Major General Muzammil Hussain stressed that the war games would highlight a traditional military role. “These exercises will be focused only on conventional war on the eastern border [of Pakistan]”, he said, while the Pakistani news organisation APP said in a report that the exercises would examine the Pakistan Army’s “preparedness to face new challenges and give the soldiers a real feel of a warfare mission.”
The exercises take place in light of months of training based around a military approach that is “fully responsive to a wide menu of emerging threats”, APP added.
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