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Pakistan: Our War Preparedness

By General Mirza Aslam Beg  : –

We celebrated Golden Jubilee of 65 War with India and paid homage to our martyrs and revelled in their acts of courage and sacrifice. Six years later we fought the 71 War, and lost half of our country. It was a pathetic example of “how not to fight a war”. Luckily, during the 1980s, while General Zia was busy fighting America’s war in Afghanistan, the armed forces of Pakistan had all the time to think and plan for the future. The army was able to develop its fighting prowess, so as to emerge as one of the best in the world.

During the 1980’s, three good things happened. First, The ISI and CIA were fighting the war in Afghanistan, and army had no such commitment. Second. The Armed Forces War College-trained-officers were holding appointments at command and staff level, who could plan for war and could develop various arms and services into a force-combination, capable of supporting the strategic demands of a maneuver, combining operational strategy and tactics into one single concept of offensive defense. The military thought of the army, thus matured to structure the war machine that could fight out-numbered, in a fourth dimensional warfare environment, as of today. Third. China was ready to give us high-tech weapons and equipment with complete know-how to manufacture all those items in the country, with no strings attached. The army didn’t loose time to avail these opportunities.

By the year 1982, a comprehensive development plan of the army for the year 2000 and beyond, was worked out, and was implemented step by step, with Chinese support. In 1982, our delegation visited China, with a shopping list and US$ 600 in hand. Our Chinese friends, agreed to provide every item we wanted, and asked if there was any thing more we needed. We gave the full list to them. They accepted all, including Al-Khalid tank package, for US$ 1700, payable in the next twenty five years, at a nominal mark-up. With this deal signed, we could manufacture over 90% of our weapons, ammunition of all caliber, missiles and equipment. Thus by 1990, for the first time, we could build-up our war reserves of 40xdays.

As our fighting capabilities developed, we carried-out a series of war games to test our operational concepts, which ultimately matured into Zarb-e-Momin maneuvers, carried-out like an open book, to give the message to our enemies that we could not be taken for granted any more; that the Pakistani nation must feel assured that under all circumstances, army would not fail them, Insha Allah. More than hundred young journalists were enlisted and given three months orientation tour of formations, units and installations and finally were embedded with each formation and unit, taking part. The electronic and print media were given free access to information as the maneuver developed. Twenty three foreign military delegates witnessed the maneuvers, and watched the application of land-air warfare concept and the ability of our senior commanders to employ large forces under war like conditions.

These maneuvers lasted for over two weeks, involving more than 250,000 troops. One hundred and fifty trains were moved, providing logistic and operational support. By the Grace of Allah, there were no accidents. Every thing moved like a well-oiled machine, which speaks so high of all ranks, taking part. This is the shining face of the Pakistan Army, ready to fight conventional war, in a fourth dimensional war environment, with capability for full mobilization in two days time, which now enables the army formations currently deployed on the north-western borders, to move to their Eastern border battle locations, within 24 hours.

Pakistan is facing the fourth dimensional war threats since 2006 when India established a vast spy network in Afghanistan, subjecting Pakistan to terror of all sorts. In 2007, I wrote some detailed articles about this network, which now has shifted sea-wards, carrying out subversive activities along the coastal areas of Pakistan, such as Keti-Bandar, Kot Kalmat and Jiwani. Weapons, ammunition, currency and alcoholic drinks are falling into terrorists’ hands supported by contacts within the country.

The fourth dimensional warfare (FDW) instruments are many and varied: It is Terrorism to cause internal dissent; it is Sectarian divide; it is Perception Management of the nation through anti ideological educational programmes causing dangerous socio-political conflict within; it is Psychological Warfare techniques to weaken national resolve, and so on. Thus, FDW has created a dangerous environment of very serious nature to our national security. Fortunately, our political leadership and the armed forces stand as one to defeat such machinations and conspiracies.

It would be wrong to assume that we are an atomic power and no harm can come to us. Whereas, it is the conventional forces, that would fight our future wars, and win. Atomic weapons are great equalizer for maintaining the balance of terror as it was proved on 28th May 1998, and publically admitted by the then Indian Defence Minister: “Perfect nuclear deterrence now has been established between India and Pakistan.” The Soviets and the Americans, despite possessing thousands of atomic weapons could not avoid their defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Israelis suffered a shameful defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in 2006, despite possessing over 200 atomic weapons. Could USA have dared attack Japan in 1945, had the Japanese possessed the capability to deliver even one atomic bomb on New York or Washington? That is the quintessential value of this weapon of mass destruction, which also is a weapon of mutual destruction. No one will be left to cry for the dead, if nations choose to fight an atomic war. Based on this logic, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave the Policy of Nuclear Restraint in 1989, knowing fully well that Pakistan could put together only ten atomic devices while India had the capability for sixty. Pakistan has not deviated from this policy.

We also hear about the Indian doctrine of cold start, which is a hoax because, it pre-supposes that Pakistani intelligence is so dumb, that it would not be able to detect in time, the move and assembly of the large Indian strike forces, to invade Pakistan. The Indians must know the fact that Pakistan army can deploy for war, just in two days time, whereas Indian forces can take to the field not earlier than six days. Thus Pakistan army will remain poised for a pre-emptive strike, should the political leadership, so decide.

(Writer is former Army Chief of Pakistan)

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