Guardians Of Peace: Pakistan’s Conventional Military Exercises – OpEd


The readiness, alertness, and comprehensive training of a nation’s armed forces have historically been its primary means of ensuring peace. Therefore putting the state in a position to deal with any unanticipated events or potential crisis. Pakistan’s tri-forces have participated in multiple regional, national, and international exercises.

By no means are these exercises a demonstration of an aggressive force posture; rather, they essentially embrace the peace efforts. The peace time exercises promotes peace by preparing the state for encountering any kind of defensive acts, and creating strong deterrence. The history manifests that deterrence has always been a prime factor in avoidance of wars and establishing peace. Hence, such exercises become a guarantor of peace in the volatile south Asian region. 

Numerous exercises have been conducted by Pakistan recently which includes exercise Shamsheer-e-Sehra, which incorporated Electronic Warfare capabilities and Information Operations required to subdue enemy’s communications capabilities and disinformation campaign during war; exercise Seaspark 2024 to enhance the naval capabilities; the 7th Pakistan Army Team Spirit (PATS) Exercise-2024, seven teams from Pakistan Army and fifteen teams from friendly countries participated in the exercise, which aimed at enhancing combat skills through sharing of innovative ideas and experiences by the participants; Exercise Al-Bayza-III, 2024, which emboldened the integrated fire and battle maneuvers of Army Air Defence systems which includes High to Medium Air Defence Weapons System (HIMADS), Low to Medium Air Defence System (LOMAD), Short Range Air Defence system (SHORADs) and Extended Short Range Air Defence system (ESHORADs). In the exercise HIMAD system in maiden fire was able to successfully engage the target at maximum ranges along with other layered weapon systems which were tested during the exercise, which indicates the precision targeting and operational readiness of Corps of Army Air Defence. The numerous exercises conducted by all the three forces of Pakistan helps in attaining perfection and preparedness in the desired areas and prepare the military for exceptional response under the conventional operation settings.

More than two decades have passed since overt nuclearization of Pakistan and India, but the importance of conventional deterrence in the maintenance of strategic stability still can’t be ruled out. India has always tried to exploit the threshold under the nuclear overhang, and has always tried to disturb the strategic stability by introducing limited war doctrines and other offensive postures, and through major progression in the offensive military technology. India, in its endeavor to achieve the regional hegemony has always tried to get in the way of strategic stability in the south Asian region. The limited war in south Asia could potentially be the conflict escalator and could lead to a full scale war, which could be disastrous for the two nuclear rivals. Hence, to let go off the chances of such consequences, the stability and credible deterrence at the lower rung is imperative for the peace and stability in the region.

Political planning and military preparedness is the key to the credible deterrence of a country. The purpose of deterrence is to delay the attainment of objective of the adversary by elongating the war and making the war unthinkable for the opponent. The conventional deterrence thus precludes the adversary form any misadventure, under the nuclear overhang.

In the evolving security situation in in south Asia, Pakistan is compelled to adopt a dual-track strategy for catering to the aggressive designs of the enemy at both conventional and unconventional level. The Full-Spectrum deterrence posture of Pakistan has been credible enough to deter the enemy at the unconventional level, but alongside that, Pakistan has to be fully prepared for any proactive war strategy or counterforce targeting by the enemy. In this regard, advanced training, exercises and operational readiness is immensely important for the security of the country. Pakistan recently has celebrated the victory of the fifth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort, which was the result of such comprehensive trainings, vigilance and preparedness that Pakistan successfully catered to India’s aggressive actions. The apt retort and the befitting response is the indication of country’s military preparedness, which is further strengthened through conventional military exercises. Hence, Pakistan is fully prepared to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty against the full spectrum of threats. 

Hence, to conclude, all the Indian military modernization encompasses apt response from Pakistan, and continuous military modernization and training in this regard helps attain strategic stability and deterrence stability in the region. The mutual vulnerability prevails when the two adversaries are capable enough to deter each other’s aggressive designs. A strong conventional deterrence ultimately creates anxiety and fear at the adversary’s end that the war would be costlier and unachievable, and could result into a humiliating defeat. The conventional imbalance in south Asia is aptly controllable for Pakistan, and the incessant exercises of all the forces of Pakistan’s military are tallying Pakistan’s capability for countering any future threat matrix.

Amber Afreen Abid

Amber Afreen Abid is a Research Officer at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad. She holds an M.Phil degree in Strategic Studies from National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad.

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