High Mark 2010: The Biggest War Games in the History of Pakistan

Add to Google Buzz

By S.m. Hali :

The PAF’s five yearly ‘Exercise High Mark 2010’ has commenced to test its professional skills, capabilities and combat readiness. The countrywide exercise, which will last for nearly 60 days, will also be dovetailed with the Pakistan army’s exercise named Azm-e-Nau III and Naval operations to make it a tri-service test of mettle under realistic conditions. PAF is a support arm for the other two services, in addition to defending the aerial frontiers of Pakistan. The military exercises are organised as paper war games that may entail heavy expenses but provide authentic lessons, thus they are dispersed over a few years. ‘High Mark 2010’ comes in the backdrop of a clear threat to Pakistan, both externally and internally.

Undoubtedly, the regional environment is fraught with multiple threats. Although the Pakistani armed forces have been engaged in a war against terror for the last eight years, the counterinsurgency operations gained momentum in the last two years. Combined with the threat from extremists, our eastern neighbour has evolved a Pakistan specific new war doctrine named ‘Cold Start’, which it is in the process of testing and adapting for all the three services. The threat has compounded in the post-Mumbai attacks scenario, where Indian hawks have been propounding the conduct of surgical strikes against selected targets within Pakistan. Hence, Pakistan’s nuclear assets have been under a threat from external forces, who would like to deprive the country of its strategic weapon under one pretext or the other.

Simultaneously, terror organisations are keen to steal or hijack a nuke or two from Pakistan’s arsenal and destabilise the world by posing a nuclear threat. Whereas Pakistan’s Nuclear Command Authority’s efficacy and effectiveness is beyond the shadow of doubt, and its nuclear assets have been stored, deployed and dispersed in a manner where the most sophisticated countries have not been able to get even an inkling of their location, what to talk of any rag-tag militia. Yet, cognisance must be taken of the various war games conducted by the west and India in an effort to neutralise Pakistan’s nukes.

In this backdrop, ‘Exercise High Mark 2010’ is a formidable task for its planners as well as executants. To test its concepts and conduct of operations of the PAF personnel for a broad spectrum of conflict, the force has been divided into the traditional Blueland and Foxland with a realistic force ratio to obtain the best optimised and rational results. For the first time, PAF is conducting the exercise with a major reliance on IT (Information Technology) at the command, as well as field level, to provide real time inputs of communication, man, machine, weapons and employment of effort tactics.

The PAF’s recent successful interaction with the army’s counterinsurgency operations in Swat and South Waziristan, the lessons learnt from internal security operations, diverse terrain and time sensitive targeting and supporting Pak army’s ridge line operations must have enhanced its orchestration methodology for joint operations. The exposure of PAF to the high ‘tempo ops’ and least collateral damage must have raised the level of confidence of its air and ground crew. The multiple threat scenarios with near realistic exposure are likely to pay rich dividends to the force which has always operated under the handicap of a numerically superior adversary.

The freshly acquired and operationally inducted squadron of JF-17 Thunder, the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW & CS), the air-to-air refueller, use of advanced UAVs and the more sophisticated precision guided munitions added to the PAF’s inventory will all come into play in both offensive and defensive roles. Operating under the enhanced threat of electronic warfare and employing electronic countermeasure techniques through various platforms must be definitely receiving due consideration. Therefore, the Indian threat of surgical strikes have already been shrugged off by Pakistani defence planners because PAF possesses the capability to strike back with extreme vigour, and inflict heavy damage to the aggressor, in a matter of hours provided there is political will. The enemy will have to think hard before undertaking a foolhardy operation like the one the Indian air chief was rearing to undertake in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks in 2008.
Read more of this post

Why Pakistan Armed Forces are Indo-centric?

Add to Google Buzz

Sultan M Hali:

India has never accepted Pakistan’s existence and always considered the division of Bharat a cardinal sin. The members of the Indian Congress had initially agreed to the partition with the understanding that the fledgling nation would barely survive a few weeks. Enough impediments had been placed in its path to ensure its destruction. The mass exodus of Muslims from India headed towards Pakistan and freedom but was set upon by marauding hordes of extremist Hindus and Sikhs, who looted raped and massacred the refugees. Pakistan’s share of the assets both in terms of finances, machinery and weapons was not handed over to the new state.

To tighten the screw on Pakistan, Kashmir, Hyderabad, Junagadh and other Muslim states were annexed through forceful occupation. In all this turmoil, one institution remained a thorn in India’s side and that was the Pakistan Army. Bedraggled and under-equipped, the Pakistan Army mostly comprised stragglers, who had themselves barely escaped from the mad frenzy of the communal rioters. It goes to the credit of Pakistan’s founding fathers, Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan, who thwarted the machination of the Indian Congress, which wanted the Indian armed forces to remain undivided under one on Commander-in-Chief after the departure of the British. The duo of Quaid and Liaquat saw through the macabre Congress stratagem since it would have left Pakistan undefended and at the mercy of the Indian malevolence.

Congress did not want Pakistan to have separate defence because it wanted Pakistan to crumble and beg to be taken back into the fold of united India or failing which, India would gobble up the fledgling Pakistan. After Independence, our founding fathers organized the Armed Forces and deputed them to protect the incoming refugee caravans. The first test for the army and air transport elements of the air force came when India occupied Kashmir. It was baptism under fire but Pakistani Armed Forces despite being outnumbered and ill equipped and devoid of directions from their British Commanders, did well to liberate a sizable portion of Kashmir from the clutches of Indian occupation and would have unshackled the rest of the Valley if India did not approach UN for a ceasefire and agreed to the UN Resolution calling for a plebiscite to settle the Kashmir issue. Pakistan Armed Forces went to war twice more in 1965 and 1971 and nearly in 1999 at Kargil but the Kashmir issue remains unresolved.

Pakistan Army may have committed the folly of upsetting the applecart of democracy by usurping power four times, for which they are answerable to the people of Pakistan and the current dispensation in the Army is trying to make amends. As far as India is concerned, it partly realized its dream of dismembering Pakistan, when it stage-managed the turmoil in 1971 and ultimately severed our eastern wing from us. It has tried similar tactics in the western wing too. Operation Meghdoot (1984) to capture Siachen; Operation Brasstacks (November 1986-March 1987) in which General Sunderji had grand designs of dismembering Pakistan at its narrowest belt opposite Rajasthan; Operation Parakram (December 13, 2001 – June 10, 2002) when belligerent India amassed its troops on its borders with Pakistan; following 26/11 Mumbai attacks, India contemplated surgical strikes. These Indian adventurisms were thwarted by the vigilant Pakistani Armed Forces, backed by a credible nuclear arsenal. Ultimately, in December 2009, Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor croaked that India has developed, modified and tested the Cold Start Strategy to take on Pakistan with conventional weapons before the nuclear weapons can be deployed or launched.

If anyone still has doubts why Pakistan’s Armed Forces are Indo-Centric, they should listen to Indian Army’s musings. Its 19th Chief of Army Staff, General Ved Parakash Malik, who in his Observer Research Foundation discourse of January 2010k titled ‘India’s Strategic Culture and Security Challenges’ spills the beans: “We must realize that our enemy is not Pakistan or its civil society. It is the Pakistan Army.” He qualifies his conclusion by claiming that “Our major security problem with Pakistan currently is terrorism. Experts in India and abroad have no doubt that the 26/11 Mumbai incident originated in Pakistan, and like most such incidents in the past, it was encouraged and supported by the ISI, which works under the Pakistan Army. Even Dr Manmohan Singh said, there is enough evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack, it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan.” Dr. Manmohan Singh would be better advised to look for the sophistication and military precision provided by agencies closer to home.
Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: