‘Time running out for Pakistan, Indian military action imminent’

December 23rd, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) “Time in running out” for Pakistan with the deadline of Dec 26 given by New Delhi to Islamabad for a crackdown on terror infrastructure approaching, said a report of a leading publisher of geopolitical intelligence Tuesday.The report from Stratfor says that after the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks, India relayed a message to Pakistan via the US that they would be given “30 days to carry out significant actions in cracking down on Islamist militant proxies operating on Pakistani soil that continue to threaten India”.

Islamabad has been denying that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai killing at least 170 people were from Pakistan.

“Pakistan’s deadline, 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 military operations against Pakistan, and Indian defence sources have revealed that these plans are ready to go into effect,” the report said.

“While India used the time to prepare its military forces, the US came down hard on Pakistan behind the scenes, making clear that Islamabad will have to deliver on India’s demands or else Washington will not be able to stand in New Delhi’s way if and when the time comes for India to act,” the report, based on intelligence reports, reads.

The intelligence analysts observed that Pakistan has made a few arrests and raids targeting militant leaders and Pakistani intelligence operatives, but has done nothing that substantially reduced the militant threat to India from New Delhi’s point of view.

“And even if Pakistan was prepared to swallow the bitter pill of conceding to its main rival by cutting its militant ties, it can only go so far to placate India before it creates a domestic crisis in trying to avoid an international one,” Stratfor said.

However, the report said, that it is still unclear how far India will take this military campaign and to what extent the US operations in Afghanistan will be affected.

Discussions are taking place inside Indian defence circles over 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 ratcheted up 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 US’ main supply line into Afghanistan, has also been tossed around. While a blockade would put the already cash-strapped Pakistan in an economic choke, doing so would inevitably cause friction in India’s relationship with Washington.

The intelligence publisher reported that the US, knowing its “limitations” of the relationship with New Delhi, is already preparing for “a worst-case scenario”.

“For the past month, the US military has been feverishly stockpiling supplies for its forces in Afghanistan in anticipation of a major interruption,” said the report.

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