Pakistan held a massive military drill along its border with India as a chest-thumping exercise against its nuclear-powered neighbour. During the drills – overseen by the country's army chief and prime minister – two China-made attack helicopters were also spotted.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif travelled to a strategic area along the border region to witness warplanes, tanks and other heavy weaponry pound targets on Wednesday (16 November). The drill took place in Khairpur Tamiwali desert area near Bahawalpur district amid serious tensions with India.
Pakistani authorities said that the drill was meant to test the war-preparedness of its armed forces. Over the past few days, a series of cross-border attacks and infiltration bids have been witnessed along the international border, with both sides claiming casualties.
During the exercise, Chinese-manufactured WZ-10 Thunderbolt were also pictured, although Islamabad has not yet confirmed whether it had purchased the missile-armed attack helicopters.
Speaking about the drill, the Pakistani premier said that his nation's armed forces were ready to tackle any kind of challenge. "This exercise demonstrates that our armed forces are ready to confront any nefarious move of the enemy against our soil. Pakistan Army is all prepared to counter any aggression," he said. Other top civilian and military leaders were also present on the occasion.
In September, during a lengthy upheaval in the border state of Kashmir, the Indian army had said that it had entered Pakistan-controlled areas in the state and destroyed militant positions and killed numerous insurgents. However, authorities in Islamabad denied the claims and insisted that the incident was nothing more than cross-border infiltration by the Indian army.
Since then, there have been numerous incidents of ceasefire violation agreed between the two countries. At least 60 attacks have taken place in the past week and more than 15 people have reportedly been killed. However, India's Border Security Force (BSF) said that it had stopped more than 15 infiltration bids by militants attempting to cross the de facto international frontier.