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  1. #101
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    President Barack Obama waged the first military action of his tenure Friday with missile strikes in the region.

    Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf said of the airstrikes, 'Policies don't change with personalities.'

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The Pakistan military's top spokesman said attacks against suspected terrorists by pilotless U.S. drones - such as two alleged to have occurred Friday - are ''counterproductive'' because they undercut his country's efforts to oust militants from Pakistan's tribal region.


    Seventeen people were killed Friday in the two missile strikes in the ungoverned tribal areas. One government official and two military officials said they were U.S. attacks. They are the first such strikes since President Barack Obama took office on Tuesday.

    ''It helps us in no way conducting our operations,'' Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told CNN's Reza Sayah. ''We are trying to create to wean away the tribe at large from the militant component of the tribe. But it diminishes the line which divides the militant component and the tribe at large.''

    ''We face much more difficulty as a result of drone strikes, and we have conveyed our position on that'' to the United States, Abbas said.

    Both hits were near the Afghan border, said local political official Nasim Dawar. The Pakistani military sources asked not to be named because they are not authorized to release such information.

    The first strike, which killed 10 people, occurred about 5:15 p.m. (7:15 a.m. ET) in a village near Mir Ali in North Waziristan, the officials said. Seven people died in the second hit at 7:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) near Wana, the major town in South Waziristan, 17 miles (27 km) from Afghanistan, they said.

    There was no immediate response from U.S. officials.

    Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, interviewed on CNN's ''The Situation Room,'' repeated that public opinion in his country is strongly against the strikes on Pakistan territory.

    Musharraf was asked whether he is comfortable with the fact that the attacks are continuing, even with a new U.S. president in place.

    ''As far as this issue of the new president, President Obama, having taken over and this continuing ... I've always been saying that policies don't change with personalities.

    ''Policies have national interests and policies depend on an environment.''

    The former leader added that he believes the environment and national interests of the United States'' are the same.

    North Waziristan and South Waziristan are among seven districts in Pakistan's ungoverned tribal region, where the Taliban and other militants have sought haven.

    The region has seen a sharp spike in the number of aerial attacks carried out by unmanned drones on suspected Taliban targets. The United States has the only military with drones operating in the area.

    In 2008, there were 30 suspected U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan, based on a count by CNN in Islamabad.

    The first U.S. strike on the tribal areas in 2009 came on New Year's Day. Two top al Qaeda terrorists were killed by a U.S. missile strike against a building in northern Pakistan, according to two senior U.S. officials.

    The men, both Kenyans, were on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list, one of the officials said, and were believed to have been responsible for the September suicide bombing at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

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  2. #102
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    India seeks world help to push Pakistan to act against terrorists

    * Antony says no US pressure on avoiding military action following Mumbai attacks

    By Iftikhar Gilani
    Saturday, January 24, 2009


    NEW DELHI: India on Friday asked the international community to cooperate in its efforts to make Pakistan act against terror outfits operating from its soil.

    “Apart from solidarity or sympathy, what India needs is results and we are waiting for the results,” Defence Minister AK Antony told reporters.


    He said terrorists operating across the borders were not only a threat to India but also to the entire world, adding the terror outfits and the infrastructure in Pakistan needed to be dismantled.

    “I am happy that there is realisation in many quarters on terrorists operating from across the border. As per our information, at the moment there are 30 terror outfits operating from across the border,” Antony said.

    Pressure: He also rejected the idea there was any pressure on India from the United States against using military action in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks. “No sensible person, no responsible country will say after the Mumbai attacks that India must not take any steps against terrorists,” Antony said.

    About the armed forces’ state of preparedness after the terror attacks, Antony said, “They are doing their duty to the nation and they must, according to me, be ready to face any eventuality on the border.”

    To a question on Pakistan seeking China’s help to ward off New Delhi’s pressure, the defence minister answered that there was nothing new in the move.

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  3. #103
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    Nuclear war to break out in South Asia

    Front page / World / Asia
    12.05.2009 Source: Pravda.Ru
    english.pravada.ru

    The danger of a nuclear war in the world will remain even if Russia and the United States agree to reduce their strategic offensive arms. Asia’s nuclear powers - India and Pakistan – do not intend to follow the example of the two superpowers. The ongoing standoff in South Asia may lead to catastrophic consequences for the whole world.

    The conflict between India and Pakistan lasts for over 60 years already. Their confrontation became especially dangerous after 1998, when both India and Pakistan conducted a series of nuclear tests and showed the world their ability to build nuclear weapons.

    India has never concealed an intention to possess nuclear weapons. The nuclear doctrine was approved in the nation in 2001. It is worthy of note that India never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Indian government believes that it has a full right to possess nuclear arms just like Russia, the USA, China, France and Great Britain.

    In accordance with the nuclear doctrine, India ’s nuclear arsenal will have the air, the ground and the sea constituents. The country’s Air Force already has nuclear-capable Mirage-2000, MiG-27 and Jaguar aircraft. It also has ground-based ballistic missiles. India does not have nuclear submarines yet, but it may become a reality very soon.

    Pakistan is India’s primary potential enemy. China can also be a threat to one of Asia’s largest nations. The Indian nuclear program of the 1960s was a response to its own defeat, which the nation suffered as a result of the border war with China in 1962.

    Several dozens of nuclear warheads will be enough for India to contain Pakistan. Even if Pakistan launches a massive attack against India’s vast territory, it will be impossible to destroy most of the Indian strategic nuclear arms. Quite on the contrary: India’s nuclear retaliation with the use of 15-20 nukes will cause much bigger damage to Pakistan, which is a lot smaller in size.

    India has 115 nukes at the moment. About 80 warheads will be enough to destroy Pakistan entirely. However, India will not be able to attack China afterwards. The latter has 410 nuclear warheads. Therefore, India will most likely try to enlarge its nuclear potential.

    Unlike India, Pakistan does not have its nuclear doctrine officially documented. There is not enough information about the details and the structure of the nuclear forces of this country either. Official spokesmen for the Pakistani authorities say that the development of the nation’s nuclear forces will fully depend on the actions of the Indian government.

    Pakistan possesses nuclear arms as a nuclear deterrent against a possible attack from India. In addition, Pakistan aims to reduce India’s predominance in other arms. Pakistan has all chances to build 40-45 nuclear warheads. The country has ballistic missiles too.

    A nuclear blow in South Asia can result in a global catastrophe. The population of India and Pakistan totals over one billion people. The two countries do not have any means of protection against a nuclear attack. Even a minor nuclear explosion will kill millions of people and trigger a humanitarian catastrophe.

    Vladimir Anokhin
    Pravda.ru

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  4. #104
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    HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
    Email Author
    New Delhi, May 29, 2009


    An assertive defence minister on Thursday asked Russia and Israel, India’s trusted arms suppliers, to make sure that they stick to deadlines for the supply of military equipment required by India.


    With huge time and cost overruns holding back the military’s modernisation, Defence Minister AK Antony expressed his “anxiety” to the Ambassadors of Russia and Israel while dedicating India’s first Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) to the country.

    The delivery of the AWACS platform — a tripartite venture involving Russia, Israel and India — was delayed by around 18 months as it involved some complex integration of a multitude of systems. India had contracted three AWACS in 2005 in a deal worth over $ 1.1 billion (Rs 5,280 crore). The remaining two are likely to be inducted in about 18 months.

    Antony said the two countries, “You have to deliver the remaining two systems on time”.

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  5. #105
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    Could India And Pakistan Go To War?

    September 22, 2016

    Could India and Pakistan really go to war? It almost seems an absurd question to ask.

    After all, both countries have long been nuclear powers -- a deterrent that encompasses the lives of a combined 1.4 billion people. Both nations have also seen some years of relative peace along their border, a break from the wars that pockmarked the 20th Century.

    And yet, hours after 18 were killed in an attack on an army base in Indian-administered Kashmir, the director-general of military operations for the Indian Army announced that the terrorists carried gear which had "Pakistani markings."

    The allegation unleashed a torrent of fury on social media.

    "Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such," tweeted Rajnath Singh, India's home minister.




    Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's Secretary General Ram Madhav took to Facebook. "For one tooth, the complete jaw," he posted, seeming to imply a disproportionate retaliation.

    On India's many TV news channels, a steady drum beat calling for war gained momentum, reaching a crescendo of sorts in primetime.

    Arnab Goswami, the host of the country's most-watched English news hour, expressed rage at Pakistan: "We need to cripple them, we need to bring them down on their knees."

    One of his guests, a retired army general, went a step further: "We must be seen as inflicting punishment on Pakistan by non-terrorist means ... the nation needs a catharsis!"

    But what about the ready nuclear arsenals both countries possessed? Surely that would be a deterrent?

    The retired army man, Major General G. D. Bakshi, had a clear answer: "Pakistan is one-fifth the size of India. If we fire even a part of our arsenal, most of it will be on the Pakistani Punjab, from where the Pakistani army comes: Not a crop will grow there for 800 years!"

    "Let's stop self-deterring ourselves," he cried.

    Pakistan put together a terse response.

    Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan's Prime Minister, issued a statement saying the country "categorically rejects the baseless and irresponsible accusations being leveled by senior officials in Prime Minister Modi's government."

    Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman told CNN that India was "desperately looking for ways to deflect the world's attention from the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir," referring to the protests and unrest there.

    And emotions have boiled over on the Pakistani side, too.

    In New York on Monday, an Indian journalist was reportedly asked to leave a press briefing by the Pakistani foreign secretary.

    "Remove this Indian," were the words an official used in Hindi, according to NDTV, the Indian news channel whose reporter was purportedly forced to walk away.

    Ground realities

    "It's easy to get carried away by the public rhetoric we're seeing," says Ajai Shukla, a former Indian army colonel who is now the strategic affairs editor of Business Standard.

    Sunday's attack is not the first deadly attack on Indian soil that New Delhi has accused Pakistan of having a hand in.

    In January, another Indian military base was attacked in northwestern Punjab, not far from the border with Pakistan. And then there were the Mumbai attacks in 2008 in which 164 people were killed.

    While Indian officials continue to link those attacks to the Pakistan government, Islamabad has consistently denied any involvement.

    In each of these terror attacks, and others like them, there have been calls for a strong Indian response.

    "When it makes decisions, the (Indian) government is guided by realities, not by a public outcry," says Shukla. "They realize that if they do attack Pakistan it does not play out in India's favor."

    Shukla points out that India is not strategically prepared to launch an attack -- which he says is a "failure of the planning process."

    One also cannot ignore the fact that Pakistan has the 11th biggest army in the world, says Shukla.

    "We're in a symmetrical relationship," he says. "The consequences of any form of attack are far worse than people realize."

    Perhaps one difference with Sunday's attack, as compared with previous ones, is that some of the calls for an Indian retaliation are coming from within the government itself, which may necessitate action if only to save face.

    Pakistan is watching the rhetoric in India very closely, says Mosharraf Zaidi, an Islamabad-based commentator who has previously served as the principal adviser to the country's foreign minister.

    "The sentiment of hurt and anger in India is understandable," says Zaidi. "But the Indian assertion that the attackers were from Jaish-e-Mohammad, within a mere three to four hours of the attack, and the notion that the group is an extension of Pakistani policy, is completely counterintuitive to even the worst, most cynical notions of Pakistan."

    Zaidi says that while Islamabad may once have been supportive of groups that operated in Kashmir in the 1990s, Pakistan had long eschewed that path, with consistent and public statements from the Prime Minister and the army chief.

    "In 2016, that would be a suicidal policy. Pakistan is a country that is trying to stitch together an economy. It is trying to market itself as a hub of trade for countries like China," Zaidi said.

    India's tough rhetoric and calls for isolating Pakistan are a bonanza for hawks on both sides, says Zaidi: "It undermines the voices of reason."

    Global diplomacy

    The next steps of diplomacy -- or a war of words -- are likely to play out in New York this week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. New Delhi is expected to call for sanctions on its neighbor, for what it alleges are clear moves to support terrorism.

    Islamabad, meanwhile, is expected to highlight unrest in Indian-administered Kashmir, where a two-month-old curfew persists after mass demonstrations and violence.

    India's approach will be crucial.

    For decades, New Delhi has been resolutely aloof on foreign policy: It was one of the founders of the "Non-Aligned Movement," which kept the country neutral to superpower influence.

    But at last week's NAM meeting in Caracas, India was not represented by its Prime Minister for the first time since 1961.

    Instead, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a point of cozying up to the United States. He has met with US President Barack Obama eight times since 2014, and three times so far in 2016.

    Modi's foreign policy is decidedly more aligned and decisive -- perhaps one reason why his supporters expect a muscular move against Pakistan. (On Monday, for example, #MakePakPay was trending on Twitter in India.)

    But the overwhelming prerogative for both India and Pakistan remains growth, not war.

    And in the past few years, India has not heeded public calls for attacking Pakistan and that strategy has served it well.

    According to a survey released Monday by the Pew Research Center, 81% of Indians hold a favorable view of Modi and 61% approve of his handling of terrorism. While 73% of Indians hold an unfavorable view of Pakistan, 56% favor talks between the two countries to reduce tensions, according to the survey.

    Much of the world will be hoping Modi listens to the polling numbers, and not the fevered rhetoric on social media.

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    Oh boy...


    India Hits Pakistan Terror Launchpads In Surgical Strikes Along LoC

    September 29, 2016

    India conducted surgical strikes last night along the LoC to safeguard our nation, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday. “Significant casualties have been caused to terrorists and those trying to shield them. We don’t have a plan to further conduct such strikes. India has spoken to Pakistan,” DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said.

    “Based on receiving specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carryout infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists. The operations were focussed on ensuring that these terrorists do not succeed in their design to cause destruction and endanger the lives of our citizens.

    “During these counter terrorist operations significant casualties were caused to terrorists and those providing support to them. The operations aimed at neutralizing terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for further continuation. However, the Indian Armed Forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise,” the DGMO said. No Indian casualties occurred during the surgical strikes that were carried out last night by the Indian Army.

    “We have recovered items including GPS which have Pakistani markings. Captured terrorists hailing from PoK or Pakistan have confessed to their training in Pakistan or in Pakistan controlled region,” Singh said.

    “I spoke to the Pak DGMO, shared our concerns and told him that we conducted surgical strikes last night: DGMO Singh said.

    PM Narendra Modi had informed President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President and former Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh on the surgical strikes. Jammu and Kashmir Governor and CM Mehbooba Mufti have also been informed about the surgical strike.

    Home Minister Rajnath Singh has informed Chief Ministers of Punjab, West Bengal and Odisha, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury and Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad about surgical strikes.

    The press conference was jointly conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan, in a statement issued has said: At least two Army men were killed as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire over the Line of Control in “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”. The exchange of fire began at 2:30am, ISPR said, and continued till 8:00am. “Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing on the LoC in Bhimber, Hotspring Kel and Lipa sectors,” the statement said.

    India had repeatedly warned Pakistan not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist activities. Besides, India had called for an international diplomatic boycott of Pakistan as it shielded terrorists on its land. At the United Nations General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Pakistan was a terror state and it need to rein in terror elements.

    Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control. Also present at the meeting were Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval, and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

    Three ceasefire violations by Pakistan were reported along the LoC in the last 24 hours.

    Prime Minister Modi was also scheduled to hold a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan, but that meeting has now been rescheduled for next week.

    India had also summoned Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit and handed over evidence that proved the terrorists that attacked an army base in Uri and left 19 jawans dead, did come in from across the Line of Control.

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    Wars Over Water? Well, Here's Your 2016/17 Most Likely From an Unlikely Place

    September 26, 2016

    While we've been picking out belly-button over our shambolic election, history's other lines of operation are moving apace. Have you been briefed up on the Uri Attack of 18 SEP 16?

    At least 18 soldiers were killed in a terror attack on an Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18. All four terrorists, who attacked the camp, were killed.

    The Indian Prime Minister is decided to play a card India has held deep in the deck.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a fiery speech in Kerala where he blamed Pakistan for exporting global terrorism has now called for a briefing on the Indus Waters Treaty.

    PM Modi will meet relevant officials from various ministries today including External Affairs and Water Resources, top sources have told NDTV.

    The Prime Minister, sources say, wants to discuss the pros and cons of taking action against Pakistan. This confirms that among the various options on the discussion table for India's response to the Uri attack, reconsidering the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan could be one.
    ...
    One of the suggestions is to turn off the Indus river tap that waters much of Pakistan. It is perceived that the pressure could compel Pakistan to crackdown on non-state and state actors acting against India.
    ...
    The Indus Waters Treaty was signed between Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan's president General Ayub Khan in 1960, after World Bank brokered negotiations that lasted almost a decade.

    The Indus treaty withstood two full scale wars and tense India and Pakistan relations and experts are divided over the benefits of reneging on an international water sharing pact.
    ...
    The Indus originates in China, and unlike India and Pakistan, it has not signed any international water sharing agreement. Should China decide to divert the Indus, India could lose as much as 36 per cent of river water.

    Under the agreement, of the six rivers that flow westward in the sub-continent, India has full rights over three - Sutlej, Beas and Ravi - while Pakistan receives the waters of the other three - Jhelum, Chenab and Indus - almost unrestricted.

    Two nations with nuclear weapons - the most modern of weapons - potentially in a fight over water - the most ancient of reasons to go to war.

    Prime Minister Modi launched a blistering attack on Pakistan on Saturday, saying: “Whenever a terror attack takes place, it emerges either the terrorist set out from Pakistan, or after the attack, like Osama Bin Laden, took refuge there.”

    Speaking at a public meeting in southern Indian city of Kozhikode, Modi said India would never forget the militant attack that killed 19 soldiers in an Army base in Kashmir’s Uri District. He also accepted an often-quoted Pakistani “challenge” (read Benazir Bhutto slogan) of a 1,000-year war, saying: “Your (Pakistani) rulers speak of fighting India for 1,000 years. Today, there is such as government in New Delhi that I am ready to accept your challenge.”

    Modi ripped into his ‘one-time’ friend and Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif’s needling UN General Assembly speech and phony talks offer, stressing: “Today, I am speaking to the people of Pakistan directly. From the leaders who read speeches written by terrorists, the world can expect nothing. But I want to speak to the people of Pakistan directly. I want to remind Pakistan that your ancestors used to consider undivided India as their land before 1947 and worshipped it. And in their memory, I want to tell you something. The people of Pakistan please ask your leaders that you have Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and you cannot manage it. Bangladesh used to be yours and you couldn’t manage it. You cannot manage Gilgit, Baltistan, Pakhtun, Balochistan, Sindh and you are talking about Kashmir.”
    ...
    As is evident from Modi’s address, India is well aware of Pakistan’s internal vulnerabilities and will not hesitate to capitalise on it, if necessary. By speaking of Bangladesh, the PM reminded the Pakistani political establishment of a wound it has not yet recovered from and what India was capable of.

    Can we stay to the side as the world's largest democracy faces off against an Islamist terrorist safe haven?

    China assured Pakistan of its support in the event of any “foreign aggression” and also backed Islamabad’s stance on the Kashmir dispute. Immediately after China vowed to help Pakistan in case of “aggression”, the US announced that it would upgrade military combat exercises with India. In a statement, the US Department of Defence said that it has awarded Boeing a USD 81 million contract to supply 22 Harpoon missile systems for the Indian Navy’s Shishumar class submarines.

    A ‘great game’ is getting set to be played between India, Pakistan, Russia, China and the US, as a “tectonic geo-strategic shift” is taking place in Asia.

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    Indian Army Destroys 4 Pakistani Posts In Retaliation, Inflicts ‘Heavy Casualties’

    October 30, 2016

    The army said on Saturday it destroyed four Pakistani posts in a “massive” assault across the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, ratcheting up hostilities with the neighbour a day after an Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by militants.

    “Four Pakistani posts have been destroyed in a massive fire assault in Keran sector,” an army official said.

    Heavy casualties have been inflicted on the Pakistani side, he said, without giving further details.




    The Indian strike is seen as a retaliation to ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in the Keran sector earlier in the day, in which one BSF jawan and a civilian woman were injured.

    The de-facto border with Pakistan has remained tense since a militant attack on an army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September left 19 soldiers dead.

    India retaliated by carrying out what the government termed “surgical strikes”

    A Border Security Force (BSF) trooper was killed on Friday in northern Kashmir’s Macchil sector in a freak accident while responding to a ceasefire violation.

    BSF inspector general (Kashmir) Vikash Chandra said constable Nitin Subhash sustained grievous injuries by the recoil of a long-range weapon.

    “Subhash… was admitted to a medical facility where he succumbed late last (Friday) night,” the official said.

    Subhash’s death followed the killing of sepoy Mandeep Singh whose body was mutilated by militants close to the border in the same sector, sparking outrage in India with political leaders terming the act atrocious and depraved.

    Indian security agencies suspect the militants to be from the JeM.

    Sources said the Pakistani army provided cover to the militants that attacked Mandeep by firing on Indian positions.

    The 30-year-old Mandeep’s family members on Saturday demanded that Pakistan be taught a lesson for harbouring terrorists, and former army officers expressed sadness over the incident.

    His brother, Sandeep Singh, said the family wanted 10 Pakistani heads as revenge.

    With ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops sparking panic in border villages, home minister Rajnath Singh assured the nation that security forces were giving “befitting reply” to firing from across border and that the country will not bow down before anyone.

    “I want to assure the nation that the security forces are giving befitting reply to the firing from Pakistan. We will not bow down before anyone,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

    Minister of state Jitendra Singh said nothing “can be more atrocious than this”.

    “The human rights of soldiers should enjoy precedence over the human rights of anybody else. The longer Pakistan continues to be in denial mode the more it harms itself,” he said.

    Congress’ Manish Tewari said the mutilation was an “absolutely depraved behaviour”.

    “There are certain rules of engagement and conduct even in a conflict situation. Pakistan is expected to respect the rules of engagement,” he said.

    Mandeep’s native village, Aantehri, in Haryana’s Kurukshetra went into mourning. Women flocked to the dead soldier’s house to console his widow, Prerna, who is a head constable with Haryana police. The couple had married two years ago.

    “Pakistan should be taught a lesson once for all so that no other family of a soldier has to go through such pain,” Prerna said, breaking down several times.

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    Pakistani Air Force Chief Warns India Against Full-Scale War

    November 24, 2016

    Pakistan's air force chief on Thursday warned archrival India against escalating the dispute over Kashmir into full-scale war, urging New Delhi to exercise restraint.

    Marshal Sohail Aman's warning came as tensions are soaring between Islamabad and New Delhi over the contested Himalayan territory where Pakistan said Indian fire on Wednesday killed 12 civilians and three soldiers -- the deadliest incident in weeks of border clashes.

    Aman said that if Indian forces escalate the crisis, Pakistani troops "know full well how to deal with them."

    On a visit to Islamabad, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson held talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz.

    Afterward, Johnson expressed concern over the Kashmir escalation and appealed to the two South Asian countries "to maintain a positive dialogue" to resolve the dispute of the territory, which is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.

    The two neighboring countries have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which remains one of the world's most intractable conflicts.

    In Wednesday's escalation, Indian artillery and shelling hit several villages along the Line of Control that divides the Pakistan- from India-controlled sector of Kashmir, killing 12 civilians. Three Pakistani soldiers were later also reported killed in an exchange between the two sides.

    The exchange came a day after the mutilated body of an Indian soldier was found in Kashmir. The Indian military did not say whether the soldier was killed by Pakistani soldiers or Kashmiri rebels, who have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989.

    Also Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a high-level security meeting to review the Kashmir situation.

    "We will never abandon our Kashmiri brethren in their freedom struggle," Sharif later said, according to a government statement.

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    India Tests Agni-V Ballistic Missile

    December 26, 2016

    India today conducted successful test of the nuclear-capable long-range surface to surface ballistic missile, Agni-V.

    The missile is indigenously designed and developed by state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation.

    "The test – the fourth in a row – was a complete success," a senior DRDO scientist said. "Three more tests are planned before the missile is inducted in the defense forces... The full range test-flight of the missile has further boosted the indigenous missile capabilities and deterrence level of the country."

    All the radars, tracking systems, and range stations tracked and monitored the flight performance, and all the mission objectives were successful. This was the 4th test of Agni-V missile and the second one from a canister on a road mobile launcher. All the four missions have been successful, according to a Ministry of Defense announcement.

    "Agni-V will be the last link in the chain of land-based deterrence vis a vis China as at present India cannot pose a viable threat to major Chinese counter value targets such as large cities," said Rahul Bhonsle, a defense analyst and retired Indian Army brigadier and defense analyst. "This will certainly place the country at par with the Chinese as well as other major missile powers such as the United States and Russia to some extent. Thus India enters the exclusive intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) club."

    "India had strategically delayed the testing of 5000 kilometres range Agni-V for one year to ensure a seat in the Missile Control Technology Regime (MTCR) which it got in July this year," said a senior MoD official who requested anonymity.

    The fourth test of Agni-V missile was first scheduled for December 2015 which was postponed to January 2016 and then to March 2016 and then rescheduled because of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to US in June this year.

    The first test of this missile was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second test was carried out on September 15, 2013 and the third on January 31, 2015 from the same base. The surface-to-surface Agni-V missile is seven meters long and can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one ton.

    A DRDO scientist further noted that there is also a proposal to develop Agni-VI missile with a range of over 10,000 kilometers, but the status of the project is not known.

    India has already inducted the homemade nuclear capable Agni-I with a range of 700 kilometers, Agni-II with a range of 2000 kilometers,3000 kilometers range Agni-III missile The 4000 kilometers range Agni-IV missile is in user trial stage.

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