ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan Consolidating Conventional Deterrence Through Military Exercises – OpEd

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In order to assure its military preparedness, Pakistan’s forces have been conducting a number of military exercises nationally and internationally. Countries prepared military proves to be the guarantor of peace which can be only attained though rigorous training and exercises. These exercises basically incorporate the peace efforts, and are not by any means a show of aggressive force posture. 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.

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A number of exercises have been conducted in the year 2022 so far which includes IMX 22, a Multi-national maritime exercise under the U.S Naval Force Central Command, Pak Navy Exercise Seaspark 2022, the US and Pakistan air forces joint exercise Falcon Talon 2022 and Pakistan Army and Royal Saudi Land Forces joint exercise Al-Samsaam-8 at National Counter Terrorism Center Pabbi. These exercises conducted by the Pakistan forces help attaining preparedness and perfection in the desired areas and prepares the military for exceptional response under conventional operational settings.

In three years airmen from the US and Pakistan air forces conducted their first bilateral training event called Falcon Talon 2022 which is an Agile Combat Employment operation  conducted at Pakistan air force base from February 28th till March 4th 2022. Falcon 2022 was the first major training event of Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central)’s since 2019. The large-force ACE operation consisted of live flying events and various other activities to strengthen interoperability across multiple capabilities including security forces, maintenance and support functions. The US participants also highlighted their multi capable airmen to Pakistan’s air force by demonstrating how these airmen perform their primary task along with the additional task that is outside their career field. AFCENT has been working with their regional partners in various training events and also in real world operations to security cooperation efforts against the regional aggressor. 

On March 4th 2022 Pakistan and Saudi Arabia conducted special force military exercise called AL-SAMSAAM-VII-22 at National Counter Terrorism Centre Pabbi, Nowshera. The focus of the exercise was terrorism operations including search and cordon, counter improvised explosive device drills and combat patrolling. This was a two week long exercise and was part of bilateral military exercises between Royal Saudi Land Forces and Pakistan Army. It was a great opportunity for both the forces to further enhance and optimize their operational preparedness skills and combat readiness. This series would also strengthen the military to military relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The maritime affairs have been globalized due to the interconnectedness of the nations, increasing their significance more than ever. The IMX 22 is a multinational maritime exercise conducted by the US Naval Force Central Command (NAVCENT) with the purpose to provide tools for promoting global and regional peace and security. Pakistan Navy was provided a great opportunity by IMX 22 to contribute towards maritime security and to enhance its interoperability with the regional navies and also to mitigate non-traditional threats prevalent in the maritime environment. Pakistan also assumed the duty of being the Deputy Commander for the exercise along with providing naval assets. With Pakistan’s outstanding contribution in the exercise, it has raised flags of peace and maritime security in the region. This exercise has also helped Pakistan to portray a better facet of its image and highlights its historical contributions to maintain peace. 

Pakistan navy has also conducted its biannual maritime exercise SEASPARK-22 at Karachi. This biannual exercise examines the war preparedness and verifies operational plans of Pakistan Navy against the projected danger spectrum in the maritime affairs. It also offers the fuel to Pakistan’s aim for sustaining stability and peace by creating a sustainable and safe environment in the area. The drill was performed in the Arabian Sea near Pakistan Coast. All naval assets/platforms of Pakistan navy, Pak marines and Special Forces along with the other units of Pak Arm, Air Force and Pakistan Marine Security Agency took part in the exercise.

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Hence all these exercises conducted by Pakistan’s Armed Forces increase combat readiness, help in identifying problems in training, logistics and current military doctrine. They also test the ability of the units to work together. These exercises act as expression of military might that acts as a deterrent to potential enemy action.  

*The writer is working as Research Affiliate at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think- tank based out of Islamabad, Pakistan

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