Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif on Friday reiterated that the army was ready to defend the country against external aggression at any cost.

“Inshallah with the backing of the entire nation we will defend each and every inch of our beloved country, no matter what the cost,” he said while addressing military officers at the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) near Kharian.

The general visited the elite counterterrorism training centre to inaugurate the newly added facilities. The centre besides training army troops caters to the training requirements of civilian law enforcement agencies and troops from friendly countries.

“Let there be no doubt that our valiant armed forces have the capability to counter complete threat spectrum,” the army chief said.

Gen Sharif’s statement comes in the backdrop of the war hysteria being whipped up by India in the aftermath of the Uri military camp attack in held Kashmir that left 18 Indian soldiers dead.

This is the second time in a week that the army chief expressed such sentiments. He had earlier on Monday, while chairing the corps commanders meeting, said his troops were ready to defeat any design against the country’s integrity and sovereignty.

Engaging in brinkmanship, India, which had over the past decade brought its troops and weaponry close to the Line of Control and Working Boundary under its ‘Cold Start Doctrine’, has reportedly moved artillery further closer. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be personally monitoring these escalatory moves.

Meanwhile, Indian media has been at the forefront of promoting the war frenzy.

Tensions between the two countries started to mount over an uprising in the Valley against the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani by Indian forces on July 8. India reacted to the protest demonstrations in the Valley by a brutal crackdown that has left at least 118 Kashmiris dead and thousands injured.

Pakistan, which diplomatically and politically supports the Kashmir freedom struggle, launched a diplomatic initiative to highlight the Indian atrocities. This angered India and the already tense bilateral relationship nose-dived.

Last weekend’s Uri attack has pushed the two neighbours towards open hostilities.

Speaking about the abilities and preparedness of his troops, Gen Raheel Sharif pointed toward the army’s successful fight against terrorism.

“We have turned the tide against terrorism primarily due to resilience displayed by the whole nation and professionalism of our security forces,” he noted.

Training facilities

With the addition of new facilities, the NCTC has become one of the best counterterrorism training facilities among the contemporary armies, the ISPR said.

The centre has trained 231,000 troops of armed forces and 3,483 officers and men of police and civilian armed forces.

Besides imparting counterterrorism training, the centre hosted joint exercises with China, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Turkey.