Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief Raheel Sharif on Wednesday reviewed military exercises in a strategically located area close to India. Pakistani security officials said the drill, which is being conducted near Bahawalpur town in the Punjab province, shows how prepared the Pakistani military is to combat threats.
Helicopter gunships, tanks, artillery, ground troops and planes – every aspect of the military is taking part in the ongoing exercise. The exercise has been termed “Raad Ul Barq’. The prime minister was the chief guest at the exercise, reported PTI.
This comes a day after Prime Minister Sharif said that Pakistan will not be bullied by India and added that Islamabad was fully capable of defending itself. On Monday, Pakistan had claimed that seven of its soldiers were killed by the Indian Army. This was the first time that Pakistan had admitted to casualties on its side. “Seven Pakistani soldiers embraced shahadat [martyrdom] at the Line of Control in Bhimber sector in a crossfire violation by Indian troops late last night,” the Pakistani military had said in a statement.
Relations between New Delhi and Islamabad has been worsening ever since militants attacked an Indian Army camp in Uri on September 18. The Indian Army later claimed to have carried out “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control on September 29. Pakistan had rebuffed the claims and called it “cross-border firing”. In October, Islamabad had denied claims by the Indian Border Security Force that it had killed seven Pakistani Rangers.
The two countries have also been involved in a diplomatic row, with each accusing the other’s foreign officials of spying for their governments. On October 27, India declared Pakistani High Commission official Mehmood Akhtar “persona non grata”. Eight Indian High Commission officials then left Pakistan following charges of indulging in “subversive activities”.