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Pakistan Army stage massive drill near Indian border

A File Photo.

ISLAMABAD (PTI): As Pakistan's armed forces staged a massive drill in the Cholistan desert, close to the Indian border, the country's civil and military leadership said Islamabad's defence strategy is based on credible minimum deterrence and had "no offensive design" against anyone.

Addressing a gathering that witnessed manoeuvres by tanks, combat jets and helicopter gunships, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said Pakistanís military strategy is based on "credible minimum deterrence".

Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in his address, said, "Pakistan harbours no offensive design against anyone but self-defence is our inherent right. We will protect and defend Pakistan at all costs."

The drill in the desert was part of the Azm-e-Nau (New Resolve)-3 exercise, Pakistanís largest ever wargame for which the military has mobilised nearly 50,000 troops, tanks, artillery and jets.

Officials have said the aim of the exercise is to train troops for the threat of a conventional war with India.

Both Gilani and Kayani made no mention of India in their speeches and said the exercise was aimed at preparing the country for threats within and beyond its borders.

"Located at the crossroad of competing interest, Pakistan is faced with multiple challenges and opportunities.

As a responsible member of the comity of nations, Pakistan desires peace and security both within and beyond," said Gilani.

The maintenance of peace and security is a key strategic objective of Pakistanís armed forces in the current global and regional environment, he added.

Kayani said the Pakistan Army is "fully committed to play our positive role in contributing towards strategic stability in the region".

Azm-e-Nau, the army chief said, marked the culmination of a series of 12 exercises that began in June last year and was aimed at analysing the "new operational milieu and nature and character of future war".

The army analysed "emerging hostile doctrines and their implications at various levels" and evolved a "comprehensive response to existing and emerging threats", Kayani said.

He said the areas of focus of the exercises were streamlining procedures and creating greater agility and flexibility within the existing system to facilitate rapid mobilisation and movement under compressed timeframe.

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