The military history of Pakistan encompasses an immense panorama of conflicts and struggles extending for more than 2,000 years across areas constituting modern Pakistan, and the greater Indian subcontinent. The history of the modern-day military of Pakistan begins from post-1947, after Pakistan achieved its independence as a modern nation-state.
The military holds a significant place in the history of Pakistan, as the Pakistani Armed Forces have played, and still continue to play, a vital role in the Pakistani establishment and shaping of the country since its inception. Although Pakistan was founded as a democracy after its independence from the British Raj, the military has remained one of the country's most powerful institutions and has on occasion overthrown democratically elected civilian governments on the basis of mismanagement and corruption. Successive governments have made sure that the military was consulted before they took key decisions, especially when those decisions related to the Kashmir conflict and foreign policy. Political leaders of Pakistan's developing democracy know that the military has stepped into the political arena before at times of crisis through Coup d'état to establish military dictatorships, and could do so again.
The military was created in 1947 by division of the British Indian Army and was given units who had a long and cherished history during the British Raj such as the Khyber Rifles, and had seen intensive service in World War I and World War II. Many of the early leaders of the military had fought in both world wars.
The military draws on inspiration from the rich combat history that has occurred within the area of modern day Pakistani soil and uses example of sacrifice and perseverance to embolden troops, and has named medals of valor, nickname for combat divisions, and indigenous weapons; Such as the short-range ballistic missiles Ghaznavi, which is named in honour of Mahmud of Ghazna who founded the Ghaznavid Empire, and ruled from 997 to 1030.
Since the time of independence, the military has fought three major wars with India. It has also fought a limited conflict at Kargil with India after acquiring nuclear capabilities. In addition, there have been several minor border skirmishes with neighbouring Afghanistan. After the September 11 attacks, the military is engaged in a protracted low intensity conflict along Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan, with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, as well as those who support or provide shelter to them.
In addition, Pakistani troops have also participated in various foreign conflicts usually acting as United Nations peacekeepers. At present, Pakistan has the largest number of its personnel acting under the United Nations with the number standing at 10,173 as of 31 March 2007.
Read more about Military History Of Pakistan: UN Peacekeeping Missions
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