September 6, the Defence Day, falls at a time in the history of Pakistan this year when the country is facing extremely grave challenges, both internal and external. These challenges are in a sense unprecedented. Undoubtedly, the bifurcation of Pakistan in 1971 was the greatest shock and the saddest event that has ever occurred. But we must keep in mind that in the late '60s it was a neighbouring country like India that was arraigned against Pakistan to slice its eastern wing off, today it is the combined forces of the sole superpower US and India, which are out to destabilise it. The silver lining, however, is that thanks to the patriotic forces, the nation is fully aware of the sinister designs that have been hatched against Pakistan and are ready to face down the inimical powers with the required confidence. More than anyone else, the armed services are conscious of the looming danger. As they hold various functions to pay tribute to the soldiers who put up a brave fight against a vicious enemy at least three times their strength in 1965 and did not hesitate to lay down their lives in the sacred cause of the defence of the country, they would also be affirming with a renewed resolve to defend the territorial boundaries of the country at all costs in the future. And there is every reason to feel assured that with the nations full support, which it gave in the September war, they would succeed. The evidence of foreign powers at work against Pakistan, and the stability of the region, has been piling up for quite some time, especially since the US went out of the way to offer the so-called civilian nuclear cooperation deal to India in clear violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and criticise Pakistan for not working against its own interests. The agreement would not only help New Delhi make up for its deficient energy resources, but also fundamentally change the equation with Islamabad and Beijing, posing a serious threat to them both; it would enable India to amass a formidable nuclear arsenal. Now the NATO, obviously acting at the behest of the US, has reportedly come out with an offer to provide to New Delhi the missile defence technology. Indeed, India is not threatened by Pakistans missiles, but the technology is patently an attempt to make it as powerful as China and keep Pakistan cowed down. These are dangerous and unmistakable signals for both Islamabad and Beijing. The armed forces must already be watching these developments to ward off their adverse effects. That the political leadership are conscious of the danger form India is revealed by a WikiLeaks despatch that quotes President Zardari telling Senator John Kerry that India was a real threat to Pakistan and that the tanks the US was supplying to it could not be used against China, but were only meant to be deployed against Pakistan. The nation stands by the armed forces and the rulers must stick to their resolve and give full support by ensuring that they are well equipped to meet the challenge.