Pakistan troops move to border, India denounces war hysteria (Roundup)

December 26th, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanNew Delhi/Islamabad, Dec 26 (IANS) India Friday denounced Pakistan for whipping up “war hysteria” after Pakistan moved troops towards the border citing threats of an Indian surgical strike following the Mumbai terrror attacks.A day after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan did not desire a war with India, a senior Pakistani official said that “threats of attack by India still persist”.

Speaking to IANS in Islamabad, the official said that Pakistan would be forced to move its troops from the Afghan border, where it has been fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, to the Indian border on the east if the Indian war threats continue.

Shortly thereafter, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that Pakistan needed to focus on taking action against terrorists who slaughtered over 170 people Nov 26-29 in Mumbai.

“My request to friends in Pakistan would be (that) instead of diverting attention from the real issue, they should concentrate on how to fight against terrorists and how to bring to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack,” he said after talking to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal.

He said India had indicated that there was ample evidence “that elements from Pakistan” were responsible for the globally-condemned Mumbai savagery that also killed 26 foreigners.

And although Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had declared earlier this week that his country did not desire war, the Pakistani official told IANS that signals from New Delhi “are not for peace but are threatening”.

Pakistan has moved troops to the Indian border, including the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Jammu and Kashmir between the two countries in clear signs of rising tensions.

In New Delhi, Manmohan Singh met the three service chiefs to study the security scenario. “The service chiefs briefed the prime minister about the preparedness of the armed forces,” a defence ministry official said.

India Friday also furnished evidence of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai terror to the Saudi foreign minister, who called for a global body to deal with the “cancer” of terrorism, Indian officials said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani Thursday evening said the country was prepared to “respond in a befitting manner” if India attacked it. This he said hours after ruling out the possibility of a war.

According to the official in Islamabad, Pakistan has received messages from the US and its allies that they would “persuade” India against taking “extreme steps”.

Pakistani officials insist that India may conduct surgical attacks against the Lashkar-e-Taiba and other militant organisations in Pakistan. India holds the Lashkar, which is known to have close ties with Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, for the Mumbai massacre.

According to media reports, the Pakistan Air Force is on high alert and was conducting aerial surveillance of the Chashma nuclear power plant, 280 km southwest of here, and other sensitive sites.

The Pakistan Army has cancelled all leave for its troops.

The official, however, said that Pakistan was ready to resume peace talks at any level and anywhere with India as war “will never resolve the problems”.

Media reports said that former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has asked the incoming Barack Obama administration to help the nuclear neighbours to improve their fragile relationship.

“The root of the problem is Kashmir,” he said. “But it’s also part of a generalized hostility between Pakistan and India. We can offer our good offices to them, but by and large, I think the fundamental point we have to make to both (India and Pakistan) is: War will destroy both.”

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