Pakistan Military Exercise Azm-e-Nau 3

The ongoing exercise is the finale of a yearlong training process in light of the directives of Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani, who declared 2009-10 as the "Year of Training". To provide them with a real "feel of the battleground", the troops have been divided into two groups, Blue Land and Fox Land, with the former playing the defendant and the latter an enemy.

The demonstration of tank brigades and anti aircraft missiles along with impressive display of conventional firepower during the exercise is a signal of military valor. Special feature of this exercise would be harvesting the technological achievements advancements in intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication means that have revolutionized warfare.

Pakistan’s official military budget is about $4 billion while India’s military budget, however, is close to $32 billion and is one of the world’s major arms buyers. Hanging over any conflict between the neighbors is the specter of nuclear war. Pakistan has publicly hinted that battlefield tactical nuclear weapons might be used on its own soil to balance India’s conventional superiority and repel any incursion.

While tracing the dynamics and the milieu under which Exercise Azm-e-Nau-III (the biggest Military Exercises after the Zarb-e-Momin of 1989), is being conducted, it is pertinent to say that this exercise is concept validation; a part of the "eternal preparedness" philosophy of the Pakistan Army. Its successful conduct would help in evolving a timely and effective response to emerging challenges. As General Kayani said, "We are focused to the defense of Pakistan and fully capable of defending Pakistan today." Pakistan indeed does not pose threat to any country, but the preparedness is for self-defense, which is our fundamental right. While comprehending the significance of regional peace and Pakistan’s commitment to it, the armed forces are ready to maintain that through a thorough preparation and by maintaining minimum credible deterrence

At present Pakistan is facing the worst security challenges of its history. None of the Pakistani borders can be called peaceful. The American war against terror has changed Pakistan into a bloody battle field. Foreign supported miscreants in the garb of militants are trying their best to change Pakistan into a barren land. Suicidal attacks on innocent citizens have up till now taken the lives of thousands of people. The worst example of this brutality was the suicidal attack on the people who were protesting against the electricity load-shedding in Peshawar on 19th of April. This attack took the lives of more than 30 people. The most important point to be noted regarding this attack is that the protest was organized by the Jamat-e-Islami; which is always blamed and criticized for its inclination towards the Islamic extremist groups. This suicidal attack proved that the hands behind these terrorist activities do not belong to any of the so-called Muslim militants. This is surely a very serious and grave situation with reference to the security and existence of Pakistan.

Pakistan Army is very well aware of the role the nation is expecting from it to play. The recent Azm-e-Nau exercises could be taken as a massage to the nation from the Pakistan Army that it has the best possible capabilities and abilities to face all these challenges and it knows very well how to take care of the national interests. As mentioned by the Prime Minister Gillani, Pakistan has no ill-will against any country and these exercises are just a routine practice; a part and parcel of military training programs throughout the world. After watching these exercises he was more confident that Pakistan Army could not be rivaled by any military in the world. He said the exercises were the epoch making professional activity of the Pakistani armed forces. Pakistan is a peace loving country. It has always rejected and discouraged every activity which could cause a loss to the calm and peace of the region but it can never ignore value, need and importance of its own security.

Pakistan would have never tried to emphasize more on its defense affairs if its ‘ever-loving’ neighbour India had not over-involved itself in making new weapons and in signing more nuclear deals. Such behavior of India is generating a feeling of insecurity among the neighboring countries including Pakistan. Being an important country of the South Asian region it is the responsibility of India to play the role of an elder one. It must project peace and harmony in the region. It would be a clear misjudgment and blunt misunderstanding if India takes the Azm-e-Nau Exercises as a threat to its own security. These exercises had nothing to do particularly with India; they were simply a rehearsal and a warming up activity against all types of terrorists and terrorist activities. However India must be worried if it thinks that it is involved in any kind of terrorist activity against Pakistan because Pakistan has solemnly vowed to crush each and every element involved in any shape of terrorism within, along or outside its borders.

This is being done in the perspective that in the current global scenario, Pakistan is facing several strategic challenges. It desires peace and harmony, without compromising the minimum credible and sustainable strategic deterrence.

Pakistan feels that if its fight against terrorism has become an inevitable, it cannot leave its eastern borders at the promises of its incredible friends. As pointed out by Dr. Henry Kissinger, the former U.S Secretary of State that, in the international politics, there neither exist permanent friends nor permanent foes. Rather these are the national interests of states which determine their future course of action. It is beyond doubt that, international politics is essentially a struggle for power. It is attributed to security competition and inter-state conflicts, mainly arose owing to the lack of an overarching authority above states and the relative distribution of power in the international system.

Pakistan has already faced the dilemma in 1971, where its friends never came to rescue it, once its eastern neighbor attacked and dismembered it. Indeed, as per the realist’s school of global politics, "all states wish to perpetuate their existence". While revisiting the history, one finds that actions of some states resulted in other states losing their existence. Poland, for example experienced this fate for the four times in the last three centuries. Munich Conference of 1938 could not save Czechoslovakia from seizure by Nazi Germany. Indeed, power is crucial to the realist lexicon and traditionally has been defined in military stratagem. Intuitively states with more power stands a better chance of surviving than states with less power. Irrespective of how much power a state may possess, the core national interest of all states is the survival. In the realistic world, the states should not depend on other states or institutions (like UNO) to ensure their own security. As "Unlike in domestic politics, there is no emergency number that states can dial when they are in mortal danger".

Through a series of successive military operations against terrorists and demonstration superior strategy through Exercise Azm-e-Nau-III, today Pak Army stands at a higher podium of professional excellence. Its present leadership has successively dispelled the global misperceptions, by highlighting the achievements of Pak Army at various forums. There exists a global recognition of Armed Forces of Pakistan as the best fighting entity having the capability to deal with internal insurgencies/ terrorism, natural calamities and to fight the external threat alike. The simultaneous engagement to quell the terrorism and perfecting drills and battle procedures through Exercise Azm-e-Nau is indeed a unique example of projecting the power potential by Armed Forces of Pakistan. It is expected that capabilities of Pak Army will act as force multipliers by reducing the fog of war for own troops, obviating enemy surprise and reducing own reaction time.

Salute to the brave soldiers of Pakistan and all the prayers and wishes for them. May God give them strength and courage to fight against all odds.

Pakistan is staging the largest military exercise (war games) since the Zarb-e-Momin war-games in 1989, titled "Azm-e-Nau-3", which translates as "New Resolve", started on April 10 and will continue until May 20. The six-week field exercise involves more than 50,000 troops belonging to all arms and services besides engagement of various aircraft and equipment of the Pakistan Air Force while about 150,000 troops are still engaged in the fight with the Taliban on the western border. It is both a warning and a show of confidence to the world that we are capable enough to defend our homeland whether eastern or western border.

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