Archive for the ‘Kashmir’ Category

Pakistan says no war with India amid calls for calm

December 27, 2008

Pakistan again said on Saturday that it does not want a war with India, as the international community tried to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours after Islamabad moved troops to the border.

The United States and Russia led calls for calm in both Islamabad and New Delhi in a bid to improve ties that have deteriorated in the month since the Mumbai attacks, which India has blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

File image of a Pakistani soldier

File image of a Pakistani soldier

By Susan Stumme

“We have lost our people — we do not talk about war, we do not talk about vengeance,” Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said in a speech on the first anniversary of the assassination of his wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto.

“Dialogue is our biggest arsenal,” he told ministers and lawmakers in remarks broadcast live on state television, saying negotiations were ” the solution to the problem of the region .”

But Zardari warned India not to push Islamabad too hard for action against extremist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, which New Delhi says masterminded the attacks in Mumbai that left 172 people dead.

“We have non-state actors. Yes, they are forcing an agenda on us,” the Pakistani leader said.


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What war with Pakistan could mean for India

December 27, 2008

Pakistan is financially bankrupt and living amid the turmoil of sectarian strife.  Yet Islamabad commands a strong military that includes nuclear weapons.

India also has a strong nuclear-capable military and, as the issue of Mumbai’s terror attacks has again proven, the hatreds between these two South Asian neighbors run deep…..


India and Pakistan have ratcheted up their rhetoric over last month’s Mumbai attacks, but analysts say a fourth war between the two nuclear-armed rivals remains unlikely.

Tensions are nonetheless running high after India warned its nationals Friday it was unsafe to travel to Pakistan and Islambad canceled all army leave, leaving Washington to urge both sides not to increase tensions further.


Another attack on India launched by Pakistan-based militants, however, could see New Delhi act decisively.


Here is a look at some possible scenarios for India in event of war:




– The Indian government faced widespread voter anger at the security and intelligence failures that led to the Mumbai attacks and must go to the polls by May. A strong response could see people rally behind it.


The opposition BJP has made militant attacks a major campaign issue ahead of the general elections and has already indicated it would back the government if it chose to go to war. However, the BJP has also been criticized in some quarters for being opportunistic in making terrorism an election issue.


India signed a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation deal with the United States earlier this year and might hope its growing political ties with Washington would get a further boost if it hit militant targets inside Pakistan with missiles and fighter jets.

(from Reuters)

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Pakistan Cancels All Military Leave; Heightened Worry of War

December 26, 2008

A senior military official says Pakistan has canceled leave for members of the armed forces because of tension with India following the deadly Mumbai attacks.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer

India has said the gunmen who carried out last month’s attacks were Pakistani and had connections to the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan has demanded India share evidence of its allegations.

Both countries have said they want to avoid conflict over the attacks, which killed more than 160 people. But India has not ruled out the use of force, and Pakistan has said it will respond to any attack and has placed its military on alert.

Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani: No Question of War With India

India terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the new Al Qaeda?

December 21, 2008

U. S. intelligence was caught off-guard by Lashkar-e-Taiba‘s “highly sophisticated” Mumbai terror strikes last month, which top spies now consider the debut of a new “brand name” to rival Al Qaeda.

The Islamist group was formed with Pakistani government help decades ago, but U.S. officials admit underestimating Lashkar’s shift from waging a minor conflict in the Kashmir region to threatening Westerners and Jews.

By James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News
“There is real concern over the fact LeT has raised its profile,” a U.S. counterterror official told the Daily News. “A lot of people are watching closely now to see if they’re plotting new attacks.”

The group is as mainstream in Pakistan as its ally Hamas is in the Palestinian territories.

Before the mayhem that began Nov. 26, no Lashkar camps in Pakistan’s tribal areas had been targeted during an intense CIA offensive in the fall, a senior intelligence official confirmed.

The agency has used unmanned drones to fire missiles at Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives directing the insurgency in Afghanistan. Lashkar cross-trains with the two terror groups.

But U.S. counterterror efforts are now getting beefed up, sources said.

“Assume that the intelligence community has new targets it previously hoped would be only distractions, of which LeT is one,” a third U.S. official told The News.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Lashkar – which once focused on the India-Pakistan fight over Kashmir – hit a “new threshold” of terror by killing Americans, Brits and Jews.

Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm., ... 
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seen, during a press conference at a
U.S base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008.
(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

“They specifically targeted a Jewish center that was off the main drag,” Mullen recently told reporters. “It raises this outfit to a much higher level than where it was before.”

Brooklyn Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, were slain there, leaving their baby, Moshe, an orphan.

Many also were surprised by what one internal U.S. government document called “hit and run” tactics that killed scores of Indians and six Americans.

Mullen said the 10 thugs “in a highly sophisticated manner [held] at bay an entire city.”

They had been trained by military pros in small arms and close combat for a year near Kashmir – though evidence isn’t a slam dunk that Pakistani spies aided them, sources said. The killers used satellite GPS units and phones and Google Earth to plan and execute the attacks.

Ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheuer declared it “a superb operation.”

Americans and Jews now face greater danger from Lashkar overseas, officials said.

“There are a lot of tourists in South Asia, and there’s really not a lot we can do,” Scheuer said.

“The question,” said another intelligence official, “is whether Mumbai is a ‘one-off’ or if such operations could be sustained.”

India To Pakistan: “Military Option Still On The Table”

December 20, 2008

India on Saturday sent a warning to Pakistan that it should not presume the likelihood of military retaliation was fading with time.

Pakistani paramilitary troops undertake a search operation in ...

“If a country cannot keep the assurances that it has given, then it obliges us to consider the entire range of options that exist to protect our interests and our people from this menace (of terrorism),” said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in a clear reference to Pakistan’s promise to ensure there would be no terrorist attacks against India from its soil.

Hindustan Times

The minister’s statement, read out by Sikkim University Vice-Chancellor Mahendra Lama at the inauguration of a conference in Gangtok, seems to be part of an overall drive by New Delhi to infuse credibility to India’s warnings to Pakistan after the Mumbai attack.

Mukherjee’s statement says, “The recent attacks in Mumbai only reflect the extent to which terrorists have spread their network. The repeated appeals that we have made to our neighbours, over the years, to ensure that they do not provide any support to terrorist activities and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, has been ignored, despite assurances given by them.”

Without mentioning Pakistan or its military’s Inter-Services Intelligence directly, the minister added that Mumbai was “the latest instance of how subregionalism, regionalism and multilateralism are directly threatened by non-state actors with the aid of para-state apparatus.”

India’s recent decision to deploy additional MiG fighters around the capital and establish no-fly zones around nuclear reactor sites is being seen by some as a silent warning to Pakistan.

File photo shows Indian fighter jets taking part in a mock exercise ... 
Indian fighter jets taking part in a mock exercise at the Indian Air Force Station in Gwalior. Pakistan accused India’s air force of violating its airspace, drawing a swift denial from New Delhi.(AFP/File/Manan Vatsyayana)

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Washington the steps taken so far by Islamabad post-Mumbai were “not nearly enough” and advised Pakistan to keep working to “really deal” with terrorism to help ease the present crisis. The message to the Pakistani government, she said, had to be “you need to deal with the terrorist problem. And it’s not enough to say these are non-state actors. If they’re operating from Pakistani territory, then they have to be dealt with.”

However, Richard Barrett, coordinator of the United Nations Security Council’s al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Committee, expressed satisfaction with the cooperation he was receiving from Islamabad in implementing UN sanctions against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

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India Considers Strikes into Pakistan To Kill Terrorists

December 20, 2008

India may consider “precision” strikes inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir if its neighbor doesn’t cooperate in controlling terrorists, a U.S. private intelligence company said.

“Indian military operations against targets in Pakistan have in fact been prepared and await the signal to go forward,” Austin, Texas-based Stratfor said in a report today, without providing details of its source of information.

Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors rose last month after terrorists killed 164 people in attacks targeting Mumbai’s main railway station, two five-star hotels, a Jewish center and a hospital. India blamed the attacks on “elements” in Pakistan, which then demanded evidence to support the accusation. India is unlikely to risk war by escalating the situation, an analyst said.

By Subramaniam Sharma in New Delhi

“This is an incorrect assessment,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management, a New Delhi-based independent policy research group. “India won’t initiate action of warfare. It will exert greater international pressure.”

India has threatened action and joined the U.S. to pressure Pakistan for action against all involved in the attacks, Stratfor said. It hasn’t repeated the military buildup that deployed 750,000 troops in Kashmir within a week after a terrorist attack on the nation’s Parliament in December 2001, Stratfor said.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks during a conference ... 
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.REUTERS/B Mathur (INDIA)

India put its Border Security Force on high alert on Dec. 18, Stratfor said. That force, which currently has 45,000 troops deployed along the 2,030-mile border with Pakistan, has a mandate to prevent infiltration and would not be involved in any combat operations, Stratfor said.

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One U.S. official said India's air force "went on alert" after the attacks in Mumbai.

One U.S. official said India’s air force “went on alert” after the attacks in Mumbai.

History, dissent cloud Pakistan’s Mumbai reaction

December 19, 2008

The black-and-white flag of Jamaat-ud-Dawa still flutters over a relief camp for survivors of an earthquake that hit a remote corner of Pakistan in October.

But bearded medics who work with the group had vanished from the huddle of tents and mud huts when a half-dozen police showed up to close the operation following allegations the charity was linked to militants blamed for the deadly Mumbai attacks in India.

How Pakistan deals with the Islamic group — popular among many for its aid to the needy — is a key test of its pledge to help investigate the Mumbai tragedy and, more broadly, to prevent militants from using its soil to attack both India and Afghanistan.

The U.S. and the U.N. say Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group India says trained and sent the gunmen who attacked India’s commercial capital last month, killing 164 people and straining what had been improved relations between the countries.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has been an unofficial ally of the Pakistan army in Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.

Some believe the moment has come for Pakistan, which also backed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, to make clear it has abandoned a shadowy policy of using militant proxies as a foreign policy tool.

The country stands before a “moment of change in people’s attitudes and thinking” toward militants, Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday in Islamabad.

Pakistan must see that Lashkar-e-Taiba has “morphed into a more al-Qaida-esque and radicalized entity” that is damaging the country’s interests, said Kerry, incoming chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (L), designated head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talks with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad December 16, 2008.REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN)

Mumbai Fallout: Pakistan Raids LeT Terrorist Camp

December 7, 2008

Pakistani security forces took over a camp used by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in Pakistani Kashmir on Sunday, a witness  and an official from a charity linked to Lashkar said. 

The charity official said there were fighters there from Lashkar, the p”This happened this afternoon, security forces took over the camp,” said an official with Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity.

A resident close to the camp on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad said he had seen security forces raid it. The charity official said there were fighters there from Lashkar, the prime suspect in the attacks on Mumbai last month that killed at least 171 people. rime suspect in the attacks on Mumbai last month that killed at least 171 people. 

From the Times of India 
Sunday, December 7, 23oo GMT

Pakistani Islamists burn US and Indian flags during a protest ... 
Pakistani Islamists burn US and Indian flags during a protest in Lahore on December 5. Former US presidential candidate John McCain has said the devastating attacks in Mumbai must not be allowed to hinder the peace process between India and Pakistan.


Pakistani security forces on Sunday raided a camp used by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), two sources said, in a strike against the militant group blamed by India for last month’s deadly attacks on Mumbai.(AFP/File/Arif Ali)

Local man Nisar Ali told Reuters the operation began in the afternoon in Shawai on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistani side of disputed Kashmir region.

“I don’t know details as the entire area was sealed off, but I heard two loud blasts in the evening after a military helicopter landed there,” Ali said.

By Kamran Haider, Reuters

An official with the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity, which is linked to LeT, said security forces had taken over the camp.

India has demanded Pakistan take swift action over what it says is the latest anti-India militant attack emanating from Pakistani soil. No comment on the raid was immediately available from Indian officials.

At least 171 people were killed during the three-day assault last month across Mumbai, India’s financial capital, which has imperiled the improving ties between the south Asian nuclear rivals.

Mumbai police have said the gunmen were controlled by the Pakistan-based LeT group blamed for earlier attacks including a 2001 assault on India’s parliament that nearly sparked the two countries’ fourth war since independence from Britain in 1947.

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