"They landed on the road in this, yes. That is something they have been doing for years," Pakistan Air Force spokesman Commodore Javed Mohammad Ali said. The drill was needed "in case your runways get damaged or they are not available for you," he added.

The exercise was not ordered in response to recent tensions with India and the timing was a coincidence, he said.

"This exercise, High Mark, is not done overnight just like that," he said, describing it as "a routine training matter".

Another security official, however, said the Pakistani military was on high alert in case India decided to retaliate for the Uri attack with cross-border military force.