RAWALPINDI, Nov 10: President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday that the armed forces were highly disciplined and professional, and the country's defence was in safe hands.

Addressing officers and troops of a battalion of Baloch Regiment, which was leaving the station after completing three years as Guards Battalion here, the president underscored the importance of intensive peacetime training for enhancing operational preparedness of the troops, a press release issued here by the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

Gen Musharraf paid rich tribute to bravery, patriotism, devotion to duty and excellent traditions set by the officers, junior commissioned officers and men of the 204-year-old battalion.

He said it was amply reflected by the fact that the unit had earned one Victoria Cross and five Military Crosses for gallantry in the pre-partition period and one Hilal-i-Jurat, five Sitara-i-Jurat, one Tamgha-i-Jurat and one Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military) in the defence of the country during 1965 and 1971 wars.

He said that the martyrs and Ghazis of the battalion had made the entire nation feel proud.

The president commended the accomplishments of the unit as Guards Battalion and said that visiting foreign dignitaries had also appreciated the smart turnout and excellent drill standards displayed by them. He also lauded the performance of the security of highly sensitive areas.

Gen Musharraf wished all ranks of the unit well in their new assignment and urged them to concentrate on training, administration and sports.

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