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Possible war with India

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    Possible war with India

    After the well timed terrorist attack in Jammu coinciding with Rocca's visit, India is preparing its population for a war with Pakistan.

    Pakistan may be attacked before September 2002 according to some Indian sources.

    What are Pakistan's defense options, and how must they be exercised?


    By Karl Vick and Kamran Khan
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Friday, May 17, 2002; Page A20

    KARACHI, Pakistan, May 16 -- Pakistan put its military forces in the northern part of the country on highest alert today, preparing for a possible strike by India in Kashmir in response to an attack by Islamic militants that India has linked to Pakistan.

    Meanwhile, Indian officials suggested that they had decided how to retaliate for Tuesday's attack, which killed 34 people, mostly women and children. The specific action is scheduled to be announced Friday in Parliament, and speculation focused on a possible offensive in Kashmir, the divided mountainous region that each of the nuclear rivals claims as its own.

    "I don't want to go into the specifics, but the time for action has come," India's army chief, Gen. S. Padmanabhan, told reporters in the Nepalese capital, Katmandu. The general added, however, that the process of deciding on a specific action must include "the entire nation."

    In New Delhi, where Indian defense officials briefed senior ministers, the Home Ministry issued a statement indicating that India would take new measures to halt the infiltration of Islamic militants from Pakistan, which like Kashmir is mostly Muslim.

    Senior Pakistani officers privately said they anticipated an attack by India across Kashmir's Line of Control, the heavily fortified front line that has divided the zones occupied by the two countries for more than half a century. An officer pointed out that because Kashmir is disputed territory, an attack there would not be taken as a breach of an international boundary and therefore would fall short of an all-out war.

    The distinction might help avoid the kind of conflict that could spiral into a nuclear exchange, which former U.S. officials said Pakistan appeared to be edging precariously toward in 1999, when Indian forces reversed a guerrilla offensive backed by Pakistan across the Line of Control.

    The State Department is planning to send Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage to South Asia within two weeks in an effort to break the standoff, but his itinerary has not been finalized, a department official said.

    The official said Armitage's trip had been under consideration even before the latest violence in Kashmir and is part of an effort to keep "senior level" diplomats engaged in trying to ease the border tensions. Christina B. Rocca, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, visited India and Pakistan this week.

    Armitage, known for his tough talk and close personal relationship with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, has taken a particular interest in South Asia since he assumed his post at the start of the Bush administration. "Armitage is an effective communicator with foreign leaders," the official said.

    Pakistan, which denied involvement in Tuesday's attack, arrested the leader of one of the militant Islamic groups India blamed for the killings.

    Hafiz Saeed, founder of Lashkar-i-Taiba, was taken into custody Wednesday without official explanation. Saeed also was arrested in January after Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, under international pressure to rein in Muslim militants, banned the group. Saeed was released six weeks ago.

    Musharraf banned Lashkar and another Islamic militia, Jaish-i-Muhammad, after an attack on India's Parliament in December by gunmen allegedly linked to Pakistan. That attack, which left 14 people dead including the assailants, prompted India to mass troops on Pakistan's border, where they remain, facing most of Pakistan's army.

    Until today, when activity at Pakistan's armed forces headquarters reached war footing, the country had appeared to be taking the latest crisis in stride. But newspaper editorials are taking solace in the involvement of the United States, which has made clear its appreciation to Musharraf for supporting the U.S.-led war in neighboring Afghanistan.

    "Both India and Pakistan have lived to provoke each other for so long, I don't think there will be any major conflict," said Muhammad Akram Zaki, a former Pakistani foreign secretary and legislator. "Our impression is this is an evil we're going to have to live with."

    On the Indian side, however, pressure remained on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to act. Vajpayee's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, accused of encouraging religious violence in the western state of Gujarat, has recently suffered a series of electoral losses.

    Meanwhile, in Agra, southeast of New Delhi, 180 U.S. Special Forces troops joined 150 Indian troops in joint maneuvers. The operation, planned months before the current crisis began, underscored the extent of U.S. cooperation with India at a time when international attention to Pakistan's support for the war on terrorism had irked its larger rival.

    Staff writer Alan Sipress in Washington contributed to this report.

    2002 The Washington Post Company

    well its the matter of US can sell weapons to both fool Govt.its their best interest to let 2 countries fight, and its history of US whenever there is a war in the world America makes most out of it.


      I dont know, but if India is going to attack, then it has to attack big or not at all... It will be fun to watch the western countries scrammble around when the first shot is fired..