Pak to Conduct Army Exercise Focused on Conventional War with India

Pakistani army is going to initiate next week its biggest manoeuvres in 20 years aimed at tackling threat of conventional war with old rival India, reported Reuters.

Code-named Azm-e-Nau (New Resolve) 3, and involving 50,000 troops, the exercise is scheduled to commence on April 10 and will last till May 13, report said.

“These exercises will be focused only on conventional war on the eastern border,” director-general of army training Major-General Muzamil Hussain was quoted as saying in a news briefing.

According to report, the exercises would be mainly focused in the central province of Punjab and the southern province of Sindh, both of which border India.

Indian and Pakistan, which had fought three wars, had an intense conflict in Kargil in 1999 and went to the verge of a war after a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001.

The two countries started a tentative peace process in early 2004 but India suspended the talks after the Mumbai attack. They held their first official talks since the Mumbai assault last month.

Pakistan’s army has traditionally been trained to take on forces from India. However, critics say while the Pakistani armed forces have been trained to deal with the threat from India, they lack capability in counter-insurgency tactics.

But Hussain dismissed it, saying that his men were fully trained to combat terrorism based on the western border, report said.

“We ware aware of the threat on the western front, we have internal security issues and we can’t be oblivious to what could happen on the eastern border,” he was quoted as saying. “The Pakistan army has a very comprehensive process of training troops who go into the battle zone in the west.”

Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said that India had been informed of the exercise.

Pakistani army conducted its biggest-ever exercises involving 200,000 soldiers in 1989.

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