US believes India prepared for strike on Pakistan: CNN

December 15th, 2008 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 15 (IANS) The US believes that the Indian Air Force began preliminary preparations for a possible attack against Pakistan in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack, CNN has said citing unnamed Pentagon officials.The US has supported India’s charge that Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) mounted the Nov 26 terror attacks from Pakistani soil and pressed Islamabad to take action against those behind it and prevent a future attack.

CNN said three Pentagon officials have individually confirmed to it that the US has information indicating that India began to prepare air force personnel for a possible mission.

The unnamed officials offered very few details, it said, but one said the Indian Air Force (IAF) “went on alert”.

CNN quoted a second official as saying the US concluded these preliminary preparations would have put India quickly in the position to launch air strikes against suspected terrorist camps and targets inside Pakistan.

During these preparations, a number of senior US officials were urging India to exercise restraint - which apparently it did, CNN said.

Until now, the Bush administration has publicly said it saw no signs of military movement by India and no indication that the Indian government was preparing any type of retaliation.

CNN said the Pentagon officials broadly described the activity as checking on the status of crews, fighter jets and weapons that were available. The extent of the reported preparation was not immediately known.

One of the Pentagon officials, CNN said, also confirmed that the US has intelligence indicating a single Indian aircraft violated Pakistani airspace twice Saturday.

The US believes the incursion was inadvertent, the official said, adding that there is no information to indicate it was planned.

An Indian Air Force official had no comment, CNN said.

The TV news channel said a spokesman for the Pakistan Air Force, Air Commodore Homayoon Ziqar, had no comment when asked if India had prepared for air strikes against Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks.

Ziqar was quoted as saying Pakistan is not on heightened alert at the moment. “Everything is normal,” he said.

CNN cited “another source in the Pakistan Air Force” as saying the air force is not on heightened alert but added, “We are always ready, on weekends, on holidays, no matter what the circumstances.”

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