RAWALPINDI- In a direct response to his Indian counterpart’s threat of a short war, Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif has said Pakistan Army is fully ready to thwart any external aggression.

“If the enemy ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale – short or long – it will have to pay an unbearable cost,” Gen Sharif said at a grand ceremony held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) to commemorate 50 years of the 1965 war with India.

In his address, the army chief touched upon all issues of concern to the military – terrorism, Karachi, the peace process in Afghanistan that it has been facilitating, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But the primary focus remained on the threat from India, something which he mentioned on two separate occasions during his 11-minute speech.

Gen Sharif’s curt comments came against the backdrop of Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag’s remarks earlier this week, where he said his troops were ready for the “swift, short nature of future wars”. Indian Army’s 2 ‘Kharga’ Strike Corps had, in April, also carried out large scale war games codenamed ‘Brahmashira’ to rehearse “swift multiple offensives”.

The increasing ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary, where some 20 Pakistanis have been killed over the past three months, reinforced fears in Pakistan that India was planning a brief incursion.

‘Cold Start or Hot Start’

Gen Sharif, while seemingly calling India’s bluff, said: “[The] armed forces of Pakistan are fully capable of dealing with all types of internal and external threats, may it be conventional or sub-conventional; whether it is cold start or hot start. We are ready!”

He said his army was among “the most battle hardened armies of the world, which has no parallels”. He went on to say that despite the ups and downs witnessed by the country over the past 50 years, it was much stronger now.

The army chief also emphasized the resolution of the longstanding Kashmir issue, which he described as an “unfinished agenda of partition” and warned against putting it on the backburner.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid were also present in the ceremony.

The army chief also offered prayers and laid a wreath at the Shuhada monument to remember their sacrifices for the nation.