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‘Pakistan to give befitting response to Modi’

November 17, 2016

PM says Pakistan prepared for talks and to counter Indian aggression; COAS says India must have realised after loss of 44 soldiers that aggression wouldn’t help it; both witness military exercises Raadul Barq

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday gave a befitting reply to Indian premier Narendra Modi, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying that Islamabad is prepared for negotiations but, at the same time, it is also prepared to counter the Indian aggression.

The prime minister was speaking after witnessing the military exercises ‘Raadul Burq’, 70 kilometres away from the Indian border at Khairpur Tamewali desert part of Cholistan, upon the conclusion of the war games.

The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif, and senior military officers, services chiefs and military attaches of number of countries witnessed the power show of the country’s armed forces where the army and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) took part.

The prime minister said the exercises show the preparedness of Pakistan’s armed forces to respond to any kind of threat to national security. The prime minister said the exercise Raadul Barq establishes that Pakistan is ready to confront any ambitious and reckless move by its enemies. He said these exercises reflect the preparedness of our armed forces to respond to any threat to national security.“No country can remain oblivious to threats to national security,” the prime minister said.

Referring to Indian aggression in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), Nawaz Sharif said the brutal tactics used to curb the recent spontaneous and indigenous movements in Jammu and Kashmir have been counter-productive. “Killing of civilians and soldiers along the LoC is another act of aggression that warrants international attention,” he added.

“The situation at the border remains sensitive due to India’s grave violation of the ceasefire agreement,” said the premier. He said it is extremely unfortunate that South Asia remains prone to confrontation and the security situation remains fragile. He said a policy of non-interference is practised by the state of Pakistan, which “expects the same from others to enable lasting peace in our region.”

“We cannot remain detached from recent developments in the region. Efforts to harm security and territorial integrity will be met with a befitting response. The enemies of Pakistan have made their intentions well-known,” the PM said.

He said the enemies cannot tolerate the signs of development in Pakistan, which is why the country has become a victim of terrorism. The prime minister, identifying Kashmir as a core source of tension between Pakistan and India, said the matter should be addressed in a sincere and comprehensive manner keeping in mind the aspirations of Kashmiri people and the UN resolutions. He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was well on way to becoming fully operational in the coming months and years. He said all efforts will be made to ensure all projects are completed in a given time-frame.

“We have achieved what countries with far more resources have not been able to achieve,” the prime minister said, adding that the government strictly follows a policy of non-interference in other states to enable lasting peace in the region. 

The prime minister assured that the CPEC would soon become fully operational as the first trade caravan has already departed from Gwadar port.  Referring to the ongoing tensions in IHK, Nawaz said it is extremely unfortunate that South Asia remains prone to confrontation. He said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains the core issue of contention between Pakistan and India. “It must be addressed in a sincere and comprehensive manner, while keeping in mind the aspirations of Kashmiri people and UN resolutions,” he said.

The premier graded operation Zarb-e-Azb as the most comprehensive, robust and successful anti-terrorism operation in the world. He warned that any efforts to harm Pakistan's national security will be met with a "befitting response". Nawaz pointed out that the exercise ‘Strike of Thunder’ established that Pakistan is ready to confront any ambitious and reckless move by its enemies. He said that brutal tactics used to curb recent spontaneous and indigenous movement in Jammu and Kashmir have been counterproductive.

The prime minister said Pakistan believes regional connectivity is vital process of uplifting conditions of millions of people in the region. He said every effort will be made to ensure that all CPEC projects are completed within given timeframe. He said as part of the Government's overall developmental agenda, no province or region would be left out with respect to benefits deriving from CPEC. He said first trade caravan has departed from Gwadar, which is more than a commercial activity. He said Pakistan has become part of the trade route which would change destiny of the region.

Meanwhile, COAS General Raheel Sharif revealed that 44 Indian troops have been killed in retaliatory action by the Pakistan Army on the LoC during recent escalation caused by the Indians in less than a month. 

“Indians are shameless and don’t own their dead while disregarding their soldiers wearing uniform. The esteem attached with the uniform is being denied by the Indians. We had been watching them picking the dead bodies of their soldiers but they are hiding it from their nation,” the army chief said while informally talking to a group of media persons at the Presidency where he came to attend the banquet hosted by President Mamnoon Hussain in the honour of his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday evening.

The army chief was accompanied by Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua and other senior officials. He acknowledged felicitation from the guest on the successful military exercises Raadul Burq concluded earlier in the day.

To a query, the army chief said that the accuracy of hitting the targets was one hundred percent. He reminded that infrared anti-aircraft missile that has the capacity of targeting objective at 12 kilometres in the air; hit the target at six and half kilometres with remarkable prerecession. 

The indigenously built Al-Buraq missile was also tested and proved to be highly successful. The army chief said the armed forces would never allow the gains made in the operation Zarb-e-Azb to be wasted.

“We are capable to engage the enemy on more than one fronts if required,” he said. To a question about the incident on the LoC last week where Pakistan’s seven soldiers embraced martyrdom, General Raheel said that 11 soldiers of the enemy were killed, scores were injured, including one officer, and three posts were destroyed. He declared the so-called surgical strike by the Indians as ‘drama’ and said that no sane person in India believed it.

To another question, General Raheel said India would have understood now after death of its 44 soldiers that aggression at the LOC wouldn’t help it. He said the armed forces have yielded remarkable successes in their operations and it became possible due to the teamwork of the armed forces. “I had a very good team and that worked too,” he said. He gave credit to General Nasser Janjua for bringing peace in Balochistan and expressed hope that the province would soon become a model of peace.

It merits mentioning here that Al-Khalid tanks, JF-17 Thunder, Meraj, F-7 PG, F-16 planes, Cobra, Z-16 helicopters and multi-barrel rockets took part in the Raadul Burq exercises and hit the targets precisely.