Pakistani military drills near India border
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif and Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif witnessing exercise Raad ul Barq on 16 November 2016.Twitter/ AsimBajwaISPR

Pakistan on Wednesday conducted a military exercise -- Raad ul Barq (Strike of Thunder) -- near the border with India, showcasing their ability to undertake synchronised military operations with the armoured regiments and its close air support.

The exercise revealed Pakistan's acquisition of China-made WZ-10 Thunderbolt attack helicopters and the Army's readiness to deal with any escalation from tensions with India.

Though the WZ-10 Thunderbolt is considered under-powered by some reports, it is the most modern Chinese attack helicopter since 2012. It is also considered to be the Chinese answer to the popular US attack helicopter, AH-64 Apache.

According to NDTV, Pakistan had not openly admitted about the WZ-10 Thunderbolt acquisition. In 2015, three such choppers were transferred to Pakistan for performance evaluation.

The WZ-10 Thunderbolt is armed with missiles and is capable of destroying enemy tanks and fortified positions.

China is developing a newer attack helicopter, WZ-16, which is reported to be more powerful and has the ability to carry even more weapons-load.

Pakistani military drills near India border
Pakistani armoured divisions conduct drills with close-air support from attack choppers.Twitter/ AsimBajwaISPR

Pakistan has a fleet of AH-1F Cobra helicopter gunships and 15 new AH-1Z Viper helicopters. It is reported that they have also ordered four Mi-35 attack choppers from Russia.

Earlier, the Indian Army had also conducted similar exercises where tanks moved in with close air support by Indian Air Force's Mi-35 attack helicopters. India has ordered 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from the US in a government-to-government deal.

India is also developing a home-grown attack helicopter, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which is currently undergoing weapons integration. The LCH had participated in the Iron Fist exercise where it showcased its ability to fire 70 mm rockets in March 2016.

The military exercise was held close to the town of Bahawalpur in Punjab province of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in a show of support, PM Nawaz Sharif attended the military exercise and was its chief guest. General Raheel Sharif sat next to him to witness the exercise.

On Tuesday, Sharif also warned India not to "misunderstand" its restraint as weakness and said that Pakistan has the capability to defend Indian "belligerence." He also said that his country cannot be bullied by Indian "tactics."

Earlier in the week, Pakistan also claimed that Indian Army killed seven of its personnel in cross-border firing while saying it killed 11 Indian soldiers. Indian Army has refuted Pakistan's claim of killing Indian soldiers.

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