Army, navy and air force carry out drills to thwart any sinister design
PAF conducts landing, refuelling and flight operations from Motorways
Ready to thwart any sinister misadventure from across the eastern or western border and in wake of veiled threats by India after the Uri attack, Pakistan’s security establishment has silently stepped up military preparations to ‘war mode,’ Pakistan Today has learnt reliably.
Since the Uri attack, top government officials in India have opened a salvo of accusations against Pakistan, accusing it of orchestrating the attack without providing any evidence. The jingoism and threats from India have compelled Pakistan to prepare for a befitting response in case of any (mis)adventure, sources, asking not to be named, told Pakistan Today.
Meanwhile, India has also stepped up its diplomatic campaign to target Pakistan as a ‘terrorist state’ to fulfil its stated objective of diplomatically isolating the country. However, in a major diplomatic gain, China announced its full support for Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir issue.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is already engaging in a diplomatic offensive to raise Kashmir issue where over 100 innocent Kashmiri people have been brutally killed by Indian troops while thousands have either lost limbs or have been blinded due to the use of palette guns by Indian army against the demonstrators seeking independence from India.
Well-placed sources have confided in this scribe that emergency drills by the armed forces, navy and air force have been launched to counter any threat to the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Officials in the armed forces were hesitant to confirm or deny the drills on the record.
“Armed forces have geared up preparations in a war mode. However, all drills are basically defensive in nature and not offensive. We don’t want to escalate the situation. However, we are fully prepared to thwart any sinister designs either from the eastern or western borders. If Indians conduct any adventure, they would return with a bloody nose,” an official of the army said, requesting not being named.
“Forces guarding our eastern front are put on all-time high alert. But when Indians launched open and veiled threats, our strategy to respond has been put in place and forces are vigilant to respond with full force,” the official said.
Asked what options Pakistan would have if the enemy is hell bent to carry out surgical strikes inside Pakistan, the official said the intruders would be welcomed with a befitting response.
“We are ready for any (mis)adventure. If they would carry surgical strikes, we will respond according to the plan. If we have vulnerabilities, they have even more,” the official said without further elaboration.
However, the official said that India had lost military options.
“Since they don’t have a military option anymore, they are planning two option: Either they will try to push Pakistan into diplomatic isolation or they would plan for economic strangulation,” the official said, adding that Pakistan had already neutralised both these options.
“Our diplomatic offensive is in full swing and we are trying to make maximum gains at the ongoing United Nations session. Moreover, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has also foiled Indian plans of economic strangulation of Pakistan,” the official added.
The official said that Pakistan was very careful in its posturing against Indian propaganda as it did not want to spur a ‘war hysteria’.
“We have always supported peace with India. During the recent communication with Indian DGMO, Pakistan asked India to share actionable intelligence regarding Uri attack if they had it. We will take action if there is concrete evidence,” the official said. However, the official regretted the Indian response which was based on media propaganda rather than a sincere effort to get to the culprits.
Meanwhile, in wake of any air attack from India, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jet fighters conducted an emergency landing and flying drill at Motorway, Swabi interchange, near Kamra airbase. After landing, the aircraft were refuelled, rearmed and re-launched.
“It was a drill to use Motorway as a landing strip. It is to ensure that the Airforce remains functional just in case if the airstrips are not available in emergency situations,” an official at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) told Pakistan Today, requesting not being named.
The official said the ever-changing geopolitical environment in the region demands change in the employment concepts and doctrinal changes in the application of air power with emphasis on joint operations. The exercise is aimed at conducting operations in a near-realistic tactical environment while integrating new inductions and providing role-oriented training to the combat and support elements of the force.
“The exercise is designed to achieve stipulated objectives with special emphasis on exposing PAF combat crew to simulated air battles based on contemporary concepts,” he added.
The official said that the exercise was planned earlier and was a routine drill. “Actually, it has coincided with the recent events,” he said, in a bid to downplay the significance of the drills.
Moreover, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) also cancelled multiple flights after the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) announcement of closing airspace over the country’s northern areas on Wednesday.
No reason has been given for the closure of airspace. The airspace would remain closed for Northern Areas today also due to drills.
The flights cancelled included Islamabad-Skardu (PK 451), Skardu-Islamabad (PK 452), Islamabad-Gilgit (PK 605), Gilgit-Islamabad (PK 606), Gilgit-Islamabad (PK 606), Gilgit-Islamabad (PK 608), Islamabad-Gilgit (PK 609), Gilgit-Islamabad (610), Islamabad-Chitral-Peshawar (PK 660) and Peshawar- Chitral-Islamabad (PK 661).
An official at NHA also confirmed that the Motorway had been closed to all traffic on Wednesday for air force drills near Swabi Interchange and also near Sheikhupura interchange. Some sections of the Motorway would also remain closed for all traffic today (Thursday) as PAF fighter jets would conduct another drill near Sheikhupura interchange, Lahore, on Thursday.
“Let me tell you that these drills are a part of routine exercises before the winter falls. Their drills were not India-specific. Rather these were planned long before,” the official said.
In the year 2010, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had successfully validated its concept of fighter operations from motorways and highways when its two fighter aircraft landed on a motorway. The historic landmark was achieved as part of the ongoing High Mark-2010 exercise.
Likewise the Air Force, Pakistan Navy has also launched its emergency exercises in wake of threats from India.
“The naval forces are on a high alert. Patrolling has been intensified in an aggressive and proactive posture in and around the coastal areas. The acting Naval chief has launched visits of all the naval bases,” the official said.
Asked to explain about the preparations, the official said that patrolling scale has been maximised even in those areas given leverage in peace times.
“The navy preparedness is shifted to a war situation. The acting Naval chief has started visiting coastal bases today and ground preparations are being beefed. The preparations include sub-surface, surface and above-surface levels. All aviation units, special aviation forces, special exercises are put on a high alert,” the official concluded.