No build-up of troops on border: Indian Army (Lead)

December 30th, 2008 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Islamabad, Dec 30 (IANS) The Indian Army Tuesday denied there was a build-up of troops on the border and said they were only on alert after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi asked New Delhi to “relocate forces to peacetime locations”. A senior Indian Army officer, who said he was reflecting the official position but could not be identified, said: “We have not deployed any troops along the border. It was Pakistan that whipped up war rhetoric and not us.

“Our forces are only on alert so that they can be pressed into operations if need arises,” the official said, asked about remarks by Qureshi asking India to “de-escalate tensions” in the wake of the Mumbai carnage.

“India should deactivate forward air bases and relocate forces to the peacetime locations,” Qureshi said on state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) Tuesday.

He said: “Positive developments have taken place in the last 48 hours and we welcome (Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab) Mukherjee’s denial of a war ultimatum.”

He said Pakistan would positively take action against those found involved in terrorism, if evidence was provided against them by the Indian authorities.

Also on Tuesday, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani called for the resumption of dialogue between the two nations to resolve issues arising out of the Mumbai attacks for which India has blamed Pakistan-based terrorists.

“The media has created unnecessary hype. We have to remove mistrust. We have to talk,”Durrani told CNN-IBN news channel from Islamabad.

India sees the orchestration of war hysteria by the establishment in Pakistan as an attempt to shift focus away from the core issue of taking action against elements in Pakistan suspected of having a hand in the Mumbai mayhem, government sources said.

Last week, Pranab Mukherjee had cautioned Pakistan against war hysteria and asked Islamabad to address the key issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistani territory.

Relations between India and Pakistan went into a tailspin following the Nov 26 terror strikes in Mumbai that left over 170 people dead, including 26 foreigners.

India has been maintaining that the 10 terrorists who ravaged the financial and entertainment capital of India had come from Pakistan and were members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit based in Muridke, near Lahore.

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