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Thread: India/Pakistan

  1. #41
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Indian Air Force plans to hit targets in 24 hours

    The Nation (Pakistan) ^



    LAHORE-Indian government’s continued threats to Pakistan during the last few days, now seem to be taking practical shape and the presence of two high-level US army officers in Pakistan is being viewed from a different angle. The Nawa-i-Waqt/The Nation has learnt through very reliable sources that US Admiral Michael Mullen, while negotiating with Pak military brass at the GHQ, is pressing hard upon them not to retaliate in case of expected Indian airstrikes.

    Indian Air Force intends to hit certain target in Lahore and Azad Kashmir during the next 24 hours in the same way as the US Air Force is doing in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the sources confided. As per source Pakistan military leadership has refused to accept US pressure and deployed F-7 fighter jets at Lahore Air-base which are fully capable of not only intercepting Indian strikes but also counter-attacking effectively. All the air-force stations have been put on high alert and military leadership has made it clear on the US that in case of Indian attack, Pakistan will at once discontinue logistic support to US and shift it army from the western front to the eastern.ral said.

    (Excerpt) Read more at nation.com.pk ...

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  2. #42
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Pakistan military on ‘red alert

    Pakistan media is reporting that the country’s military is on high alert over a possible strike by India.

    Monday’s reports come after a ratcheting up of tension between the two countries following attacks in Mumbai last month which killed 163 people.

    Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Pakistan, said the local media attributed its reports to military sources, who were confirming that the navy, air force and army were on red alert.

    “The Pakistani air force have been seen visibly in a number of locations flying close to the Pakistani-India border in what is being described as an aggressive patrolling mode, following reports that India is planning pre-emptive strikes against locations in Pakistan,” Hyder reported.

    “Chiefs of the three forces are meeting in what is being described as an emergency meeting in general headquarters in Rawalpindi.

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  3. #43
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    PAF jet fighters continue flying over Lahore for the second day
    Updated at: 1104 PST, Tuesday, December 23, 2008



    LAHORE: Pakistan Air Force (PAF) four jet fighters today continued flying over the skies here for the second consecutive day also.

    Sources said that the aircrafts equipped with the extra-fuel tanks kept taking rounds of Lahore air space on Tuesday morning for surveillance. PAF jet fighters taking off from Sargodha Air Base made rounds over Lahore for about 8 minutes and then landed at the Lahore Air Base besides making to and fro surveillance flight from Sargodha to Lahore.

    The people witnessing the jet-speeding fighters happily waved and welcomed the ever-agile ‘Shaheens’ and voiced slogans in support of the motherland.

    It may be recalled that PAF aircrafts yesterday also have flown over Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad air space for surveillance.

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  4. #44
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    India hardens tone; Pakistan calls up jets

    Published: Dec. 23, 2008 at 8:55 AM



    NEW DELHI, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Pakistan scrambled fighter jets over its larger cities as Indian officials said all options were available in the capture of terrorists who attacked Mumbai.

    Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Indian diplomats in New Delhi Monday the country has acted "with utmost restraint" so far but would "take all measures necessary as we deem fit" to capture suspects in the coordinated attacks on Mumbai, The Washington Post reported Tuesday

    Pakistan has denied involvement in November's attacks on India's financial and entertainment hub in which more than 170 people died and at least 230 people were wounded.

    A senior government official told The Post that Mukherjee's comments were an "an expression of political will that India will not take this lying down." The source also said the option of "precision airstrikes" on terrorist training camps in Pakistan would remain an option if Pakistani officials did not take effective action against the groups.

    Pakistan put its air force on high alert, with several fighter jets flying over the capital, Islamabad, as well as as Rawalpindi, Lahore and Kashmir. The action coincided with a visit by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen to meet with Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani.

    A Pakistani official told the Post Kiyani told Mullen that Pakistan was working to ease tensions with India.

    "We want peace with India, but any aggression will be matched by a befitting response," the source quoted Kiyani as saying.


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  5. #45
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Indian Air force stations in cockpit ready alert

    23 Dec 2008, 0513 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN



    CHANDIGARH: Chandigarh-based 12 Wing of the Air Force Station has witnessed hectic activity of late, putting personnel at "cockpit ready alert", a situation sources said was "hardly routine".

    An IL-76 transport aircraft flew twice between 3 am to 7 am on Sunday from Chandigarh for operational preparedness "in case of any conflict".

    The aircraft is the largest the IAF has. Importantly, it made two sorties for J&K despite heavy fog. Taking off first at 3.15 am and then at 6.15 am, the aircraft flew at a time when domestic planes at the Chandigarh airport were not allowed to take off because of low visibility, at just 300 meters. The airport and air force share a common airstrip and other systems.

    Sources said the development came after a meeting of senior defence officials in Delhi on Saturday. Air force stations were put on "cockpit ready alert" almost immediately after that.

    With large transport aircraft like AN-32 and IL-76, the Chandigarh station is vital for the air force, forming a crucial cord between troops in rest of the country.

    In fact, three transportation aircraft consisting of two AN-32s and one IL-76 were flown from here to Delhi after a call from air headquarters after the recent Mumbai attacks. The aircraft were used to airlift 200 NSG commandos from Delhi, along with RAF troops, to Mumbai.

    Sources in Western Air Command said on Monday that the latest moves have been taken to maintain "optimum operational preparedness" and added a consistent increase in average flying effort had contributed to this.

    A senior defence official, who requested anonymity, told TOI, "We are taking precautions and are fully prepared to meet any eventuality. And as far as the present development is concerned we are closely monitoring the situation."

    Commenting on it, Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd) said the move could be part of an "operation preparedness" effort aimed at training pilots to fly in low visibility in case of an emergency. "IAF normally conducts such sorties to meet internal requirements of the force as well," he added.

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  6. #46
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    India/Pakistan: Rumours of War




    These two have marched their troops to the top of the hill and marched them down again so often that most diplomats are betting it'll happen again.

    By December 26th it'll be 30 days since the Mumbai attacks and India is far from satisfied by Pakistan's response to allegations of involvement.

    Both are now playing a dangerous game of bluff, poker, and double bluff.

    Pakistani war planes were seen over the capital Islamabad on Tuesday morning prompting people to make urgent calls to media outlets asking if the Indian Air Force was on its way. On Monday the Pakistan Air Force fly over several cities conducting 'vigilance' flights.

    The Indian Army has moved extra troops along the border and commandoes have re-enforced Indian air strips in Rajasthan and Gujurat. None of this means war, but with both sides jittery and their fingers hovering near the trigger, these are nervous moments.

    Enter US Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff . He's been in both capitals in the past 24 hours. He appears to have delivered two messages. He's asked each side to calm down, and he's asked the Pakistanis to sort themselves out.

    Mullen met the two Pakistanis who may have more to say on this than President Zardari; Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and Intelligence Chief, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

    He wants them to take action against terror groups and individuals which according to the Indians were involved in the Mumbai attacks.

    More bad news came today. The Indians had sent Pakistan a letter containing what they said was 'incontrovertible proof' that Pakistani elements were involved in Mumbai. Pakistan's response today was that the ''letter itself is not ample proof'.

    That has gone down badly in New Delhi and the Indian media is already reporting that Pakistan is 'turning a blind eye' to the proof. The majority opinion in India is that Pakistan was somehow involved in Mumbai and that some sort of action needs to be taken.

    Most observers believe neither side really wants military action, but it's clear that almost a month on from the attacks, the temperature is not cooling, it's hotting up.

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  7. #47
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    wow.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  8. #48
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Countdown to a Crisis on the Subcontinent

    The week began with a series of signals from New Delhi that India’s restraint in taking military action against Pakistan is no longer guaranteed. In fact, such action could very well be imminent.

    In a press conference Monday, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that while India “has so far acted with utmost restraint,” it will “explore all options” in pressuring Pakistan to deal with Islamist militancy. The same day, Indian media reported that Indian troops and the air force’s Quick Reaction Teams had deployed along the border with Pakistan, with commandos reinforced at airstrips in Jaisalmer and Uttarlai in Rajasthan and Bhuj in Gujarat. The Pakistani military, meanwhile, reportedly went on a heightened state of alert, with reports of air force jets scrambling in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

    Over the past few weeks, India has played a complex diplomatic game, issuing a series of statements that seemingly downplayed the likelihood of military action against Pakistan in response to the Nov. 26 Mumbai attacks, while making a point in the public sphere that New Delhi was focused on using diplomatic tools to pressure Islamabad. While New Delhi’s behavior led many to believe that the threat of war had subsided, Stratfor maintained that Indian military operations were being prepared, and that New Delhi’s plan was first to exhaust its diplomatic options before engaging in any kind of military action. India’s restraint, in large part, was attributed to its talks with the United States, which would much rather not see the nuclear-armed rivals come to blows when the Americans are fighting an uphill battle against al Qaeda and Taliban forces in the region.

    But time is running out for Pakistan.

    Reliable sources -— whose information on this issue cannot be verified at this time -— have told us that in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, New Delhi relayed a message to the Pakistanis via the United States, saying they would be given 30 days to crack down on Islamist militant proxies on Pakistani soil that continue to threaten India. While India used the time to prep its military forces, the United States came down hard on Pakistan behind the scenes, making clear that if Islamabad did not deliver, Washington would not be able to stand in New Delhi’s way if and when the time came for India to act.

    The Pakistanis carried out a few raids targeting militant leaders and Pakistani intelligence operatives, making a few arrests, but did nothing that substantially reduced the threat to India, from New Delhi’s point of view. And even if Pakistan’s government was prepared to accede to India’s demands in full, it could go only so far in placating New Delhi before its efforts to avoid an international crisis created a domestic one.

    The deadline given to Islamabad, as far as we know, is Dec. 26, making Indian military action against Pakistan a very real and near possibility. The Indians have had a month to prepare their operations, and Indian defense sources have revealed that these plans are ready to go into effect. With no one in New Delhi really expecting that Pakistan has either the political will -— or perhaps even the capability —- to meet Indian and U.S. demands, we now need to examine how far India will take this military campaign, and to what extent U.S. operations in Afghanistan will be affected.

    The answer to these questions is still unclear. Discussions are occurring within Indian defense circles about an escalatory military campaign, beginning with largely symbolic strikes in Pakistan-administered Kashmir against militant training camps and offices. Depending on Pakistan’s ability to respond, pressure could then be increased with precision air strikes in Pakistan’s urban areas —- to include the capital —- against intelligence facilities and militant leadership hideouts.

    The option of a naval blockade, which would cut off the main U.S. supply line into Afghanistan, has also been tossed around. While a blockade would put the already cash-strapped Pakistan in an economic choke-hold, doing so inevitably would cause friction in India’s relationship with Washington.

    But the United States knows the limits to its relationship with New Delhi and is already preparing for a worst-case scenario. For the past month, the U.S. military has been stockpiling supplies for its forces in Afghanistan in anticipation of a major interruption. The trick for the United States, however, is to find an alternate supply route that avoids the problem of having to deal with a resurgent Russia, which would relish the thought of having U.S. military operations dependent on its good graces. There really are no good options, but the United States is working on solving this issue by devising an alternate, albeit much longer, supply arrangement from Turkey to Central Asia through the Caucasus that would help back-fill supplies that have already been stockpiled.

    Pakistan’s best defense at this point is to continue pinning blame on militants that have escaped Islamabad’s control while making the case that further destabilization in Pakistan would only exacerbate the U.S.-jihadist war. But with the United States coming up with alternate supply routes and India under the impression that Pakistan has more control over these militants than it claims, Pakistan’s defense is growing weaker by the day. From where we stand, the window for diplomacy is closing, and a crisis on the Indian subcontinent is rapidly approaching.


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  9. #49
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Very good find Vector.

    Are we buying this stuff folks? India gonna make a strike on Pakistan before tomorrow?

    I'm not seeing any alerts here..... anyone?
    Libertatem Prius!


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  10. #50
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    The deadline given to Islamabad, as far as we know, is Dec. 26, making Indian military action against Pakistan a very real and near possibility. The Indians have had a month to prepare their operations, and Indian defense sources have revealed that these plans are ready to go into effect.
    I'm waiting for someone or something to defuse this situation. Hopefully both parties will come to reason and stand down in the end.

    Running conventional sorties vs going nuclear is a totally different theater that brings in a whole new world of conflict.

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  11. #51
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan


    35 killed in Pakistan clashes

    Sapa-dpa
    Published Dec 23, 2008



    ISLAMABAD - Security forces battling an Islamist insurgency in Pakistan’s troubled north-west killed 25 militants and lost two soldiers in fierce clashes that also left six civilians dead, media reports said today.

    Fifteen pro-Taliban rebels were killed and several injured when troops backed by helicopter gunships launched an assault in Swat district yesterday, the English-language daily The News reported.

    The operation was centred on the Shakardara area of Matta sub-district, a hotbed of militants loyal to the local radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah.

    The gunfights also killed two soldiers and wounded six others, the newspaper said, quoting from a statement released by the military-run Swat media centre.

    According to the military, the security personnel exercised restraint as the retreating militants were using civilians as a human shield.

    The News said six local residents died in militant violence in the restive mountain valley. Among the casualties were two women whose house was hit by a mortar. It was not clear who fired the stray round.

    Swat was a popular tourist destination until last year when Fazlullah’s men began waging an armed struggle to enforce Taliban-style laws, prompting the government to send in troops to quell the rebellion.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force jets and army helicopter gunships pounded militants’ positions in the Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border yesterday, killing at least 12 insurgents.

    Artillery cover was also provided for ground troops patrolling militant-infested areas in Lakarao and Pandyalai sub-districts.

    The News said militants blew up a government high school in Pandyalai the same day. However, no casualties were reported as the school building was empty when it was bombed.

    Pakistan’s north-western tribal region is believed to be a safe haven for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. Government troops are fighting the rebels on several fronts amid growing pressure from international forces in Afghanistan to stop infiltration by the militants.

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  12. #52
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Tuesday 23rd December, 2008
    Any limited military offensives against Pakistan will be considered war: PM

    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said if war is thrust on Pakistan, reply will be given with full force adding any limited military offensive will be considered war against Pakistan.

    “We don’t want confrontation with India we have full potential to give reply. All the steps are complete and armed forces are red alert in view of national security situation. Complete harmony prevails between government, nation and army. Those considering our desire for peace, as our weakness should know it well we are fully capable to give forceful reply. We are determined for the defence of our borders”, he said this while talking to journalists after addressing certificate award ceremony held here National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NEW TECH) under prime minister skilled Pakistan program.

    When asked by Online what would be government reaction on joint strategy of India and Israel with regard to limited offensives against Pakistan, he said, “We are alive to all sorts of strategies. We have reply to give to any adventurism and it will be given in proper manner. No one should remain under any delusion in this regard, he warned.

    Confrontation was not in any one interest, he said. India had provided no evidence so far about Mumbai attacks. Provocative statements emanating from India despite this fact were regrettable, he added.

    Earlier addressing the ceremony prime minister said the incumbent government was endeavoring to make 40 percent youths skilled besides providing them job opportunities. Youths are our force and we had started program for imparting technical education to them to make them skilled, he held.

    The countries of which middle class was living better life, they tread on the path to progress and development, he remarked. Health program for women should also be initiated so that they could be integrated into primary health care program, he added.

    Quake affected population from Kashmir, NWFP and FATA be made part of this development process to great extent, he stressed. Handicapped persons be also included in this program so that they could take part in the development of the country, he urged.

    Our real issues are law and order situation and terrorism, he said adding poverty, hunger, unemployment and illiteracy are the root causes of these menaces. Skilled manpower was the need of hour

    Chairman NEW TECH Adnan A Khawaja said NEW TECH had imparted training to 40000 youths during 8 months and this strength will go beyond 100000 during the current year.

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  13. #53
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    ANALYSIS-U.S. Afghan strategy stretches all the way to India

    Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:50am EST
    By Golnar Motevalli



    KABUL, Dec 23 (Reuters) - America's top military officer announced a near-doubling of U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the weekend, and then flew east to cool tensions between Pakistan and India. The reason? It's all part of the same security equation.

    If a "surge" of up to 30,000 extra soldiers to Afghanistan by next summer is the tactic chosen to beat the Taliban insurgency there, holding India and Pakistan back from each others' throats is the strategy to ensure peace across the region as a whole.

    "The surge is not an answer by itself," said Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. "It's not the number of troops, it's the strategy."

    Last month's attacks by suspected Pakistan-based militants in the Indian city of Mumbai, in which 179 people died, has halted the faltering peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad. While neither side has moved to a war footing, the prospect of a conflict must be concentrating minds in the Pentagon and NATO.

    For one thing, there is a risk Pakistan would move some of the nearly 100,000 troops it has on its western border, with Afghanistan, to reinforce security along its frontier with India, with which it has already fought three wars since 1947.

    That would take pressure off Taliban fighters who hide in the borderlands planning attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan.

    "High tension between Pakistan and India doesn't serve American interests. It undermines America's agenda to control terrorism and that will only succeed if India-Pakistan relations are normalised," said Professor Hasaan Askari Rizvi, a Pakistani academic and political analyst.

    "Pakistan's attention has now been diverted from the tribal areas to the eastern border which means the Taliban and other militant groups now have greater freedom and that means they can engage in more activities."

    Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Brookings Institution security expert, said Pakistan had stepped up the fight against militants, but not enough, and may lose the will to press on because of Mumbai.

    "Our hand is going to be weaker now due to Pakistan's tensions with India," she said. "It's quite possible that even the willingness they have generated up to now they will lose for the next two months."

    FEAR OF ENCIRCLEMENT

    Afghan officials often accuse elements within Pakistan's ISI spy agency of secretly supporting Taliban insurgents.

    Pakistan denies the charge, but analysts say many of its military brass are suspicious of the ties between Afghanistan and India and fear encirclement with a hostile India on its eastern flank and hostile Afghan forces, backed by New Delhi, on the west.

    Increased tension with India would only reinforce those who argue that the Taliban are a useful foreign policy tool.

    "Some (but not all) in the establishment see armed militants within Pakistan as a threat -- but they largely consider it one that is ultimately controllable, and in any case secondary to the threat posed by their nuclear-armed enemies," wrote Barnett Rubin and Ahmed Rashid in the Foreign Affairs journal.

    The commander of international forces in Afghanistan had actually sought extra troops before the Mumbai attacks, and long before U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen announced on Saturday that 20,000-30,000 more would be deployed.

    So perhaps the "surge" would have happened anyway.

    However, it was not by chance that Mullen flew to Islamabad two days later to lecture military chiefs there on the importance of joining hands with India "to combat ... extremism together".

    U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has made it clear he will adopt a dual strategy of maintaining peace between India and Pakistan and beating the Taliban, who remain a formidable force seven years after U.S.-led forces ousted them from power.

    "Obama has also been clear that he sees the Pakistan situation very much through the prism of India," said a NATO diplomat, who asked not to be named.

    "So I think you see the whole U.S. administration taking a much wider regional focus, which is very very valuable." (Additional reporting by Robert Birsel and Kamran Haider in Islamabad, Paul Tait in Delhi, Paul Eckert in Washington and David Brunnstrom in Brussels; Editing by John Chalmers) ((Kabul newsroom, +93 708 871 211))

    © Thomson Reuters 2008. All rights reserved.

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    'Taliban to back Pak army in case of war with India'

    Agencies

    Posted: Dec 23, 2008 at 1250 hrs IST



    Islamabad Hunted by the US and NATO forces for committing acts of terror in Afghanistan, the Taliban said on Tuesday that they would back the Pakistan Army by deploying hundreds of suicide bombers in case of any military action with India. Claiming that "thousands of our well-armed militants are ready to fight alongside the army if any war is imposed on Pakistan," chief of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud, told ‘The News’ daily by phone from an undisclosed location.

    Hundreds of would-be bombers had been "given suicide jackets and explosive-laden vehicles for protection of the border in case of any aggression by the Indian forces", he said.

    "The time had come, to wage a real jihad that the Taliban had been waiting for," Mehsud, for whom the Pakistani and US forces are on the look out claimed.

    "We know very well that the visible and invisible enemies of the country have been planning to weaken this lone Islamic nuclear power. But the mujahideen will foil all such nefarious designs of our enemies," he said.
    This is for the first time Mehsud has admitted that Taliban has marshalled thousands of fighters close to the Afghan-Pak border and where Pakistani army has launched a major operation to flush them out.

    Mehsud said people might question how the Taliban would fight alongside the Pakistan Army when the militants had been fighting the force for a long time.

    "Therefore, I want to make it clear that the army was acting otherwise (in the past). But now it would fight for the protection and survival of the country, which is why we will support them," Mehsud said.

    Mehsud, who was accused by former President Pervez Musharraf of masterminding the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto in December last year, significantly said the Taliban would defend the country's frontier with Afghanistan in the event of hostilities with India.

    He said he wanted to "assure the nation, government and army that they should not worry about Pakistan's western borders with Afghanistan" as "thousands of his armed fighters had already been deployed to safeguard the strategically important frontier".

    Taliban fighters are ready to fight under the army's command, he said, but remarked it would be better for the military to "give them a separate sector or specify special targets" for the militants".

    Tensions have escalated in the region after India blamed Pakistan-elements for the Mumbai terror attacks, which killed over 180 people. India has asked Pakistan to take action against elements, including the Lashker-e-Taiba terror group.

    Though India has said war is not an option, Pakistan's top leaders, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, have said the country is prepared to face any aggression on the eastern border. Several Taliban commanders have pledged their support to the Pakistan Army in the event of hostilities with India.

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Pak will respond immediately if India strikes: Kayani

    Agencies Posted: Dec 23, 2008 at 1051 hrs

    Islamabad Pakistan's armed forces will mount an equal response "within minutes" if India carries out any surgical strike inside the country, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has reportedly assured the nation's leadership. During a meeting at the presidency in Islamabad, Kayani informed President Asif Ali Zardari about the operational preparedness of the military in the face of mounting tensions with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

    The armed forces were "fully prepared to meet any "eventuality" and the "men are ready to (make a) sacrifice for their country", Kayani was quoted as saying by pro-establishment 'The News' daily.

    The report also quoted the army chief as saying that Pakistan would respond "within minutes" in the event of surgical strikes by India.

    The report further stated that the "crux of the meeting" between Zardari and Kayani "was that any further buckling under mounting Indian pressure would prove counter-productive in the sense that it would further encourage New Delhi to further build up pressure on Islamabad".

    The two leaders met hours after the Pakistan Air Force enhanced its vigilance and warplanes conducted sorties over key cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore. Speaking in Karachi, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani too said the nation would stand united in the event of any aggression "on the eastern border".

    During a meeting last night with the visiting US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Kayani said Pakistan reserved the right to defend itself in case of any aggression from India, Dawn News channel reported.

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Pakistani-Indian War May Threaten Security of Nukes
    By RAHIL YASIN
    Published: December 23, 2008

    LONDON -- Pakistan's weak political leadership, its unwillingness to root out terrorists from border lands, its intelligence service's and army's alleged links to terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, the recent increase of Taliban attacks on a crucial NATO transportation route from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and the selling of nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea in the past, all raise new concerns among world leaders about the possible theft of Pakistan's nuclear assets by religious extremists which might result in a real threat to the United States and the West.

    Barely a month before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks two Pakistani nuclear scientists, said to be close to another Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, met up with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and offered to supply him with atomic weapons, according to a newly-released book authored by two investigative journalists - Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins.

    Chaudri Abdul Majeed and Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, who held a series of senior posts in Pakistan's nuke program, went to the Taliban's headquarters in Kandahar in mid-August 2001 and spent three days with bin Laden who was keen on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, the book says.

    However, the so-called deal did not materialize as the meeting between the Pakistani nuclear scientists and bin Laden ended inconclusively when the al-Qaida leader, along with some of his senior associates, abruptly left for the mountains of northwest Afghanistan.

    And according to the book, "The Man from Pakistan - The True Story of AQ Khan", before leaving, bin Laden told his followers that "something great was going to happen, and Muslims around the world were going to join them in the holy war."

    A couple of weeks later, the Twin Towers in New York were brought down.

    However, Pakistani officials have assured time and again of the safety of its nuclear weapons.

    Retired Indian air chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi also voiced strong confidence about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear assets and said Pakistan's armed forces are very, very professional and they have put a lot of safety measures in place.

    Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. as a panelist for Global Zero, an organization advocating an end to nuclear weapons in the world, he said: "Pakistan's armed forces are very, very professional - we know, we fought them - and from all accounts, they have put a lot of safety measures in place."

    On the other hand, leaders of the various political and religious parties said that the recent terror attacks in Mumbai were part of an international conspiracy against the atomic assets of Pakistan and urged the government not to appease Indian aggression.

    Attending the All Parties Conference (APC), they vowed that they would be ready to sacrifice everything for the sovereignty, stability and independence of the country. The APC was held under the aegis of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi at JI's Karachi office, under the title, "Mumbai Incident - Threats and Steps of Pakistan."

    Nuclear weapons can fall into extremists' hands in any country in the world, because they are everywhere in every society. The U.S. nuclear bombs also lack security requirements in European bases.

    According to a report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, European air force bases that store U.S. nuclear weapons are failing to meet basic security requirements for their safeguard.

    Pakistan will be the greatest single challenge for the incoming U.S. administration of Barack Obama. Asking the president-elect to adopt a "regional framework" to address the problem of violent extremism in South Asia, noted experts have called for bolstering the security of Pakistan and Afghanistan through multilateral long-term assistance.

    The new U.S. government cannot afford any damage to its interests in the region. The United States would have to work closely with Pakistan's civilian government as stability in Pakistan is vital for the security of its nuclear weapons. War between India and Pakistan could provide extremists a free hand to take control of nuclear weapons.

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    If Indians attack Taliban to fight alongside Army: Mahsud
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    By Mushtaq Yusufzai


    PESHAWAR: Baitullah Mahsud, central head of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Monday announced full support to the army against archrival India if it makes any aggression against the country.

    “Thousands of our well-armed militants are ready to fight alongside the army if any war is imposed on Pakistan,” Baitullah told this correspondent on telephone from an undisclosed location.

    He said the time had come to wage a real jihad they had been waiting for. “We know very well that the visible and invisible enemies of the country have been planning to weaken this lone Islamic nuclear power. But the “mujahideen” will foil all such nefarious designs of our enemies,” said the top militant commander. Baitullah, who is accused by the government of his alleged involvement in assassination of Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi on December 27 last year, said he wanted to assure the nation, government and army that they should not worry about Pakistan’s western borders with Afghanistan as, according to him, thousands of his armed fighters had already been deployed to safeguard the strategically important frontier.

    Besides thousands of armed militants, Baitullah Mahsud said, hundreds of would-be bombers were Monday given suicide jackets and explosives-laden vehicles for protection of the border in case of any aggression by the Indian forces. “Our mujahideen would be in the vanguard if fighting broke out. Our fighters will fall on the enemy like thunder,” he declared.

    The militant commander maintained that many a people might say the militants had been fighting the army since long, how it would be possible for them now to fight alongside them. “Therefore, I want to make it clear that the army was acting otherwise. But now it would fight for the protection and survival of the country, which is why we will support them,” he said. Baitullah said that Taliban were ready to fight under the Army command. But it would be better for the armed forces to give them a separate sector or specify special targets for us where they could fight the enemy in a fitting manner.

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    Mumbai attack: US backs Indian proof of Pak hand

    23 Dec 2008, 0123 hrs IST, TNN

    NEW
    DELHI: The US has endorsed the evidence gathered by Indian agencies about the complicity of Pakistan's state actors in the terrorist attack on Mumbai, in what can result in stepped up international pressure on the Zardari regime to take action against the mentors of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

    Top US intelligence official John Michel McConell is learnt to have expressed complete satisfaction with the strength of
    India's case against Pakistan, based on FBI's examination of call records of satellite and cellular phones used by Mumbai attackers and their Pakistan-based handlers.

    McConell confirmed that one of the numbers logged on the satellite phone the terrorists used while navigating their way to Mumbai belonged to known Lashkar terrorist Abu Al Qama. Indian intelligence officials are familiar with the satellite phone that Qama uses. The US, using its leverage with
    Sharjah where Thuraya is headquartered, corroborated this fact, and also the fact that Qama was passing instructions to the attackers from Pakistani soil.

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    India: FBI Mumbai Probe Finds Pakistani Involvement
    December 23, 2008 | 2128 GMT

    The FBI has wrapped up an investigation into the Nov. 26 Mumbai attacks in India and found evidence that a Pakistani security institution other than the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was involved in the plot, Rediff.com reported Dec. 23, citing unnamed officials. The name of the Pakistani institution involved was not clear, but sources did not rule out involvement by Pakistan’s army.

    U.S. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell reportedly flew to New Delhi to meet with the FBI team working on the case, and has passed on its findings to government officials. The FBI is preparing a charge sheet against those involved. MConnell also has met with Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan and other officials about the evidence gathered so far in the Mumbai investigation. FBI officials reportedly questioned a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant for more than nine hours to get information about his role and handlers in Pakistan.

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    War talk reaches fever pitch in Pak media

    24 Dec 2008, 0104 hrs IST, TNN

    NEW DELHI: India is not US and Pakistan is not Afghanistan or Iraq. That's the dominant sentiment across Pakistan media. Warning India of
    full-throttle responses if India was to "impose a war", the media has been replete with retaliatory thunder.

    "Continued rumblings from the Indian side of the border keep tensions high," said 'The News' in its Tuesday editorial titled 'The threat of war'. It talked of the upped ante on war. "Tales of patriotic feats by citizens are told in many places, as if a mental preparation for war is taking place," summed up the editorial.

    It went on to warn against war-talk. "There needs to be a realization that war is an unacceptable option. This is even truer than before given the nuclear capabilities of both nations. Even conventional war would be a disaster for the region. We need thus to ensure the current war hysteria begins to recede," said the editorial.

    On the heels of reports of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s offer to help Pakistan in the event of a war with India, The Pakistan Observer mooted removal of forces from the strife-torn Western border. ‘‘When the country’s facing serious threat on the eastern border, there is no reason to continue operation in FATA and Swat, which is a cause of internal polarization. The government needs to provide the necessary lead while 160 million people of Pakistan are fully determined and prepared to defend the country. We would remind New Delhi that Pakistan is not Afghanistan and India is not the US and will receive stunning reply to any misadventure,’’ said the editorial.

    The Frontier Post claimed that India’s stance is part of ‘‘sinister designs against Pakistan to exact concessions on Kashmir and trade.’’ It warned India against war. ‘‘Indian leadership is under the wrong impression that Pakistan will take it lying down, as Pakistan has not downed any drone despite warnings. But India is not a superpower and certainly not a partner in war on terror. Nor Pakistan is Iraq or Afghanistan that any country can do the carpet-bombing,’’ said the editorial.

    The Post said the ‘‘mammoth congregation’’ of Indian ambassadors was an event with alarming overtones that raised security concerns sky-high. The editorial added that war is no option for the two nuclear neighbours. ‘‘That is just asking for an inferno with neither a victor. Their (India) aggression is sure to elicit retaliatory response. In an armed conflict, neither country will have control as it will acquire its own dynamics to determine the course,’’ it warned.

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