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Monday, 1 December 2008

From Today's Papers - 01 Dec

From Lt Col (Retd) Habhajan Singh Cheema

The terrorist attack has mercifully ended after more than 59 hrs joint efforts by police, Army and NSG commodes. The casualties have been very heavy. The end of operation may give a sense of relief but has left the nation in pains which will take long time to subside. Like many other times we will carry out the analysis of the happening, political parties will start a blame game with eyes on elections Government will announce their resolve to bring culprits to book and give assurance not to allow such happening in future. The dead will be promised a few lacs of money and so on. We will learn nothing and there will be yet another tragedy and we will go over the whole thing once again. The terrorist have been carrying out detailed planning and preparations. Our intelligence had no inkling of their activities. The hotels were happy with their business with continuous occupancy of their suits by the terrorists under fake identity for months together. The exact planning and execution of their plan may take some time to be revealed but it is reasonably certain that they had carried out detailed planning and preparation over a long period of time. And they took coastal route from Karachi to Porbandar and then to Mumbai. They carried with them huge quantity of arms and ammunition. Where was our Intelligence during all this time? And how about our coastal guards! And how about likes of Raj Thackeray who never tire themselves of Marathi pride! How come they did not agitate against non Marathas fighting and sacrificing their lives for, in his words Maratha cause! I hope they Know that the uniformed people who completed one of the most difficult and delicate operations at the risk of their lives did not belong to any particular region least of it Maratha

The operation by the terrorists at that level could not have been possible without involvement of foreign support. But blaming Pakistan will not help, The PM is not wrong in saying that both India and Pakistan are victim of terrorism. In any case dealing with terrorism is our national problem and we have to deal with it with or without out side help. Pakistan is there to stay and we have to make our country safe inspite of Pakistan being there.

The fact is that our intelligence agencies are a total let down and they need to be held accountable for their utter failure resulting in loss of many lives, property, and of course our face. Local security system of hotels can be said to be non existent. If some one has covered itself with glory it is uniformed person alone. A shoke sabha for dead has been scheduled in the evening. The sabha will be held attended by important political leaders and many people. And that is the last we will think of these brave persons. Once again there will be discussions about what these uniformed people should get by way of 6th CPC. Then again one of the babus will quote his expertise in pay formulation. He will consider coming by helicopter and fighting the terrorist a minor affair vis-à-vis management of town affairs and naturally a higher pay band for these babus.

So let the nation not pay a lip service to the sacrifices of the brave soldiers. We should not forget them by merely laying wreath on their dead bodies. We need to make the future of their families secure. We need to attend to the problems serving and retired soldiers. We should not continue to denigrade by lowering their status like successive Pay Commissions have done.They are not asking for doles, they need to be given what they rightly deserve Non performing intelligence agencies and babus should be made to accountable for their failures. The public should reject leaders who try to divide the nation on regional, religious language and other grounds. Let us convert this tragedy in to an opportunity to unite the country to make it safe and strong, hostility of our neighbors not withstanding..

INDIA'S VULNERABLE MARITIME FLANKS

Adm Arun Prakash (Retd)

The diabolic, well coordinated and ruthlessly executed multi-pronged terrorist assault on Mumbai has left the nation punch-drunk. And 48 hours later, we still have only a hazy notion of what hit us and how. Since Mumbai is a great port city, many in the media have been looking seawards for clues, and asking the inevitable question: could the Indian Navy (IN) or Coast Guard (CG) have done anything to stop the terror strikes? The dramatic high seas interception of two merchant ships, and their internment in a Gujarat port has added grist to the mill.

I think many of us are missing the wood for the trees. No set of people could have walked off a merchant ship in Sassoon Docks or stepped out of a dinghy at Machhlimar Nagar and launched these attacks. This operation called for reconnaissance, logistics, communications, local support and perhaps even rehearsals; all requiring time. The number of persons involved, directly or indirectly, could easily run into dozens if not a hundred. It speaks of the abysmal depths plumbed by our police and intelligence apparatus that they failed to hear an underworld rumour or a whisper on the airwaves, or obtain any sort of warning at all. But that seems to be now "par for the course" in India.

Soon after the July 2006 serial train blasts in Mumbai, which resulted in over 500 dead and injured, I attended a high level inter-ministry meeting to discuss this issue. After presentations, discussions and brain-storming lasting a couple of hours, a final question was asked by the Cabinet Secretary: what urgent remedial and precautionary measures should we take to prevent recurrence of such incidents?

After a pregnant silence, the sole suggestion that came was voiced by a junior functionary: "We must give the SHOs at the thana level more and better quality walkie-talkie sets." I was shaken to the core because of the pedestrian and worm's eye perspective that it demonstrated; not high-technology, not intelligence, not weapons, but walkie-talkies! And this was in 2006, after the nation had been experiencing bomb blasts or terrorist attacks with monotonous regularity in the wake of the horrifying 1993 Mumbai carnage. The score today, of course, stands much higher.

What we have been facing for many years now, and continue to face, is an "asymmetric war", waged by a ruthless and imaginative intelligence agency. This war has many dimensions; aiding separatism and insurgency, attacking our economy by pumping in fake currency, inciting communal violence, and undermining the morale and cohesion of the armed forces (often through the instrumentality of the Indian media) are some other facets of this multi-pronged assault by the Pak Inter-Services Intelligence agency on the hapless Indian State.

Its most obvious manifestation has been the cold-blooded orchestration of violence amidst our civilian population. This is done through a complex and well-organized network of agents and surrogates, indigenous and foreign, who are trained, equipped and financed to wreak havoc. Mumbai was obviously a soft and undefended target, where they perpetrated mayhem with impunity.

Like ostriches with heads buried deep in sand, we have refused to acknowledge this asymmetric war. And full responsibility for this situation must be accepted by Indian politicians of all hues, who in their ruthless quest for votes and political one-upmanship, have systematically undermined every instrument of state, and rendered the nation vulnerable. While using it to gain electoral "brownie points" they have failed to make terrorism an issue of sharp focus for the security establishment, and our response to the asymmetric war has therefore remained disjointed, fragmented and disorganized for three reasons.

Firstly the netas have has emasculated the police forces and made the intelligence agencies ineffective by interference and politicization, so that they are unable to discharge their core functions. Secondly, the national security establishment has encouraged turf distribution and creation of fiefdoms, and thereby deprived itself of the benefits of holistic thinking and synchronized action. And lastly, in a system that must be unique world-wide, the Armed Forces are kept on the margins of national security management by a powerful bureaucracy, and rarely consulted or heard by politicians; even on issues in which they have exclusive expertise.

Let us return to Mumbai, which is not only a metropolis, port city and financial hub but also home to vital India's nuclear establishments and the Western Naval Command. There can be little doubt that the city's porous water-front is its Achilles heel, as is the state's long coastal belt. But Maharashtra received adequate warning 15 years ago, when in 1993 the "mafia" landed a few tons of arms and explosives by boat near Ratnagiri, and with police connivance, transported them to Mumbai for the carnage that was to follow.

Soon thereafter, all coastal states were directed by the Centre to raise marine police wings equipped with high speed boats and communication equipment. To my knowledge, only Kerala has put together a small unit of this type, while the other states unrealistically expect the IN or the CG to undertake coastal policing functions. These two Services are meant to operate at sea, and cannot, for example, undertake patrolling of Juhu, Chowpatti, Cuffe Parade or Alibag; which is the job of the marine police.

However, that is not all. Like much else in our country, port and coastal security is in a total mess, because at least 14 ministries, departments and agencies (e.g. MoST, MHA, MoD, DG Shipping, ONGC, Customs, Immigration, Fisheries and so on) have a degree of involvement in maritime related issues. Most of the time our security is compromised because the left hand does not know what the right is doing. Agencies work at cross purposes, while important harbours like Mumbai remain unguarded.

For years, the IN has been pleading with the GoI that there is a dire need to constitute a central Maritime Commission for regulation, coordination and oversight of maritime security. That this eminently sensible proposal is languishing due to bureaucratic obduracy is proof of our political myopia and lack of resolve. Let us look at how other nations handle similar situations.

New York was struck by terrorists on 11th September 2001. By 1st October, a Homeland Defence Command had been established and placed under a 4-star military officer. The US Secretary of the Army stated: "…homeland security is the No. 1 job for the US military and we will act accordingly." On 26th October, Public Law 107-56 was enacted by the US Congress without debate. The contrived acronym USA PATRIOT (standing for: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) explains the purport of the Act. With the sweeping powers available, the Homeland Defence Command has ensured that the USA has remained free of terrorism since 2001. Need one say more?

France, perceiving many serious threats from seawards, revived an old Napoleonic institution: the Prefet Maritime (Maritime Prefect) to implement security in a coherent and holistic manner. This functionary is the "…servant of the French State who exercises authority over the sea in a Prefecture. He reports to the Prime Minister for civil functions and to the Chief of Defence Staff for military operations." A 3-star Admiral each has been placed in charge of the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Channel coasts of France, and is empowered to coordinate the efficient functioning of agencies like the navy, coast guard, marine police, customs, immigration, pollution control, search & rescue etc. No bickering like we have in Mumbai; France can afford to sleep in peace.

India's coastal, maritime and national security too, would be tremendously enhanced if the Commanders-in- Chief of the Western and Eastern Naval Commands were to be similarly empowered. But for that we will not only need to reach a higher level of security consciousness but also learn to repose faith, confidence and responsibility in the only national institution which continues to function with dedication, efficiency and intense patriotism: the Indian Armed Forces.

Post-script.

Every newspaper and TV channel is, today, reflecting how drastically the stock of the politician has fallen with the common man. If India's polity wants to redeem itself in the public eye, there is only one thing for them to do: convene an emergency session of both Houses of Parliament, and, sinking their petty differences, show the people that they have the nation's vital interests at heart by enacting (or starting the process for) legislation for:

  • A Homeland Defence Organization, be it a civil ministry, a military command or a combination of the two.

Empowerment of the this organization with wide-ranging authority to, inter alia, gain access to telephones, e-mails, bank accounts of individuals suspected of posing a threat to our homeland, and to monitor their movements, search and detain them if necessary.

'Terrorists trained by special forces' | 'Pounced, killed'

Press Trust Of India

WAR ON MUMBAI: Mumbai attackers could have taken part in similar attacks in other regions.

Moscow: A top Russian counter-terrorism expert on Sunday underlined that the Mumbai attackers were not "ordinary terrorists" and were probably trained by the special operations forces set up in Pakistan by the US intelligence prior to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"The handwriting and character of the Mumbai events demonstrates that they were not ordinary terrorists," said Vladimir Klyukin, an Afghan war veteran.

"Behind this terrorist attack there are 'Green Flag' special operations forces, which were created by the Americans in Pakistan, just an year before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in the initial period were under full US control," stressed Klyukin, a veteran of the special "Vympel" commando group of the former Soviet KGB.

He said for such guerrilla operations at least two-three years of preparatory work with the involvement of experienced instructors is required.

Klyukin did not rule out that the Mumbai attackers could have taken part in similar attacks in other regions.

"People from the streets, without any planning and training are simply not able to hold four big complexes in a city so long," Soviet special services veteran was quoted as saying by largest Russian Interfax news agency.

He also presumed that there were at least 50 attackers given the geography and scale of the strikes.

Klyukin lauded the "right" decision of the Indian authorities not to succumb to terrorist demands.

He, however, regretted that India lacks special anti-terror units similar to the Russian, Israeli, British or German.

Nearly 200 people were killed in the multiple terror attacks in the Indian financial capital, hitting five-star hotels and other targets frequented by Westerners.

NSG to be augmented

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced a slew measures to declare the positive intent of his government in fighting terror besides sharing the grief and anger of the nation. He assured all help to the survivors.

At an all-party meeting here this evening, the PM said the national security guards would have four more hubs for rapid deployment while maritime security would be stepped up in big way. Thirdly, a new federal agency would be set up.

Clearly much more needed to be done and we were determined to take all necessary measures to overhaul the system, said the Prime Minister while presenting what was seen as a "tough stance" the ruling UPA combine to tackle the problem head on.

"We are further strengthening maritime and air security for which measures have been initiated. This will involve the Navy, the Coast Guard and the coastal police, as well as the Air Force and the civil aviation ministry," the Prime Minister said.

The anti-terrorist forces of the country will be further strengthened and streamlined. The National Security Guard, which is the principal anti-terrorist force of the country, will be given additional facilities and the size of the force is being augmented.

Steps have also been initiated to establish another 4 NSG-hubs in different parts of the country. The move of the PM comes after it was criticised that it took the NSG some 9 hours to reach Mumbai. The first lot of NSG commando's were flown from Delhi in an IL-76 aircraft of a counter spying agency and not an IAF one as reported in a section of the media. The IAF plane arrived only the next morning.

Additionally, the special forces at the disposal of the Centre would be appropriately utilised in counter-insurgency operations.

The PM, taking a que from the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission, has said legal steps were being taken to set-up of a federal investigating agency.

Expressing grief at the attacks and loss of lives, the PM assured, "We will do all we can to alleviate their suffering. I give you my solemn assurance that we will look after the needs of those who survive this horrible tragedy."

He did not forget to salute the bravery of the security forces, who fought the terrorists in exceptionally difficult circumstances. They tried their utmost to save innocent lives at great personal risk. 20 officers and men made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives. The entire nation owed a debt of gratitude to these men that we can never repay, the PM added.

This attack was different. It was an attack by highly trained and well-armed terrorists targeting our largest city.

The PM appealed to the political parties in the aftermath of this national tragedy, saying we must rise above narrow political considerations and stand united. We should work together in the interest of the country at this critical juncture.

Black Cats Earned Nation's Gratitude
During Mumbai Terror Siege

By Sahil Makkar


New Delhi
They're frequently seen guarding the high and the mighty of the land, forming a protecting ring around them with their stern demeanor and mean-looking submachine guns held across their chests. Not many know that the Black Cats, as the commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) are better known, are among Asia's finest counter-terrorism units, with its cadres trained to handle a variety of tasks like anti-hijack operations.

They made waves around the world earlier this week when they successfully tackled a group of armed terrorists who had taken over two luxury hotels and another building in India's commercial capital of Mumbai, gunning down 14 ultras and capturing one.

In the process, they also wrested the buildings back from the militants, in one case by slithering down ropes from military helicopters and then blasting their way into the structure.

The birth of the Black Cats - so called after their all-black attire - was in rather traumatic circumstances. Then prime minister Indira Gandhi had been assassinated in 1984 by her own bodyguards provided by Delhi Police and this pointed to the need for a force for exclusively guarding only VVIPs, apart from performing specialized tasks like dealing with urban insurgency.

But, given their striking appeal, demands started being made by all and sundry for being allotted NSG cover. And, given the propensity of bureaucrats to give in to the demands of politicians, the Black Cats soon found themselves being deployed more as personal bodyguards than on what they were actually supposed to do.

The final nail in the coffin came when Indira Gandhi's son Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister in 1984. His minders insisted on a specialized force for the prime minister alone - and thus was born the Special Protection Group (SPG).

Being out of the prime minister's ambit diminished the NSG's sheen somewhat - but along with that came the silver lining: it could now focus on its specialized tasks.

Today, the primary role of the force is to combat terrorism in situations that the police or other central paramilitary forces cannot cope with. It also has an expert wing to handle anti-hijack operations, rescue operations and provide support to the central paramilitary forces.

Modeled on the lines of Britain's SAS (Special Air Squadron) and Germany's GSG-9, the NSG has two complementary elements: the Special Action Group (SAG) and the Special Ranger Group (SRG).

The SAG, which comprises 54 percent of the force, is its elite offensive wing, with its cadres drawn only from the Indian Army.

The SRG draws its cadres on deputation from central police organizations like the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF).

To maintain a young profile of the force, its troops are rotated and sent back to their parent organizations after serving in the NSG for three to five years.

Aspiring commandos undergo 90 days of training at Manesar, around 50 km from the national capital. Only those who successfully complete the entire course are inducted into the NSG for further specialized training.

The NSG also provides sky marshals for airlines, security to high risk individuals, anti-sabotage checks at venues of VVIP visits, training of state and central police forces in anti-terrorism measures and conducting investigations into IED blasts.

Among the successful operations undertaken by the NSG in the past are:

* April 1986 - NSG commandos storm Amritsar's Golden Temple during Operation Black Thunder I. No casualties on either side and no weapons are found.

* May 1988 - 1,000 NSG commandos surround the Golden Temple for yet another assault during Operation Black Thunder II.

* April 1994 - Operation Ashwamedh undertaken by the NSG commandos to rescue 141 passengers from a hijacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 at Amritsar airport.

* Sep 2002 - Operation Vajra Shakti undertaken by the NSG to clear Gujarat's Akshardham temple of terrorists.

Pak could move army on border: Report

Press Trust of India

Saturday, November 29, 2008 10:02 PM (Karachi)

Pakistan may relocate around 1,00,000 military personnel from its restive border area with Afghanistan if there is an escalation in tension with India, which has hinted at the involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai carnage, a media report said on Saturday.

Private channel Geo News reported that Pakistan's military and intelligence sources told a select group of journalists on Saturday that NATO and American command had been told that Islamabad would be forced to relocate its military from the borders with Afghanistan if there is escalation in tension with India, where nearly 200 people were killed in the multiple terror attacks on the Indian financial capital.

"These sources have said NATO and the US command have been told that Pakistan would not be able to concentrate on the war on terror and against militants around the Afghanistan border as defending its borders with India was far more important," Geo News quoted senior Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir as saying.

He also said the sources had briefed the media that the decision not to send the ISI chief Lt-General Shuja Pasha to India was taken after Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee used a very aggressive tone with Pakistani officials on telephone after the Mumbai attacks.

"The decision to not send the ISI DG to India was taken because Mukherjee used strong words with Pakistani officials and warned of consequences," Mir quoted the military sources as saying.

Govt may end ceasefire, dialogue with Pak

CNN-IBN

New Delhi: The Government is considering suspending the five-year old ceasefire with Pakistan and perhaps even end the dialogue process with the country, sources tell CNN-IBN.

The Government is under tremendous pressure to act tough after the Mumbai terror strike and is considering sending to Islamabad evidence of the involvement of Pakistani elements in the attack.

A firm view has emerged that it cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. Suspending the composite dialogue process and the ceasefire, which has been under strain all of this year, will send a strong message to Pakistan but a final view on the matter has not been made up.

Some in the Government advocate an immediate downgrading of relations but others say India should wait to see if Pakistan takes action, such as deporting gangster Dawood Ibrahim and cracking down against terrorist groups like Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Indian security agencies suspect LeT trained the terrorists who attacked Mumbai and Dawood helped them in the logistics.

After the December 2001 attack on Parliament, India had scaled down its relationship with Pakistan. India then broke off sporting and cultural links, downgraded diplomatic relations, and launched Operation Parakaram to deploy the military all along the Pakistan border.

India has also communicated to the United States to put heat on Pakistan.

India has alleged the militants, who rampaged in Mumbai for three days and killed at least 182 people, were trained in Pakistan. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has promised to act against terror groups if India gives him proof of their involvement in the Mumbai attack.

Pakistan has condemned the terrorist attack in Mumbai as a "barbaric act of terrorism" and denied any involvement by state agencies. It has vowed to cooperate in fighting terrorism but backtracked on a decision to send the chief of its Inter-Services Intelligence to India to help with the investigation.

Pak fears war-like situation | But Zardari diplomatic

CNN-IBN

New Delhi: In what could be a cause of concern for the US, recent media reports suggest that Pakistan has warned India of a war-like situation if tensions escalate between the two sides.

Pakistani media reports that a senior security official selectively briefed journalists on Saturday, warning that Pakistan may relocate one lakh troops from the Afghan border in north Pakistan to the Indian border if tensions erupt in the wake of the attacks in Mumbai.

This comes after India claimed that elements in Pakistan coordinated the attacks, according to media reports.

Islamabad has told NATO and the US forces that it may not be able to concentrate on war on terror due to fresh differences with India.

An official was quoted as saying, "If something happens on that front, the war on terror won't be our priority. We'll take out everything from the western border. We won't leave anything here. Next two days will prove crucial to relations."

The statement comes just hours after Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Qureshi announced that his country will cooperate with India in the investigations, including involving the ISI.

There are also reports that Pakistan's decision to not send the ISI chief to India was taken after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee made some strong remarks against Pakistan.

More troops on LoC, no air/rail links to Pakistan

A Correspondent in Delhi | November 30, 2008 | 13:46 IST

At the all-party meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to brief other political leaders on his government's plans to put the Indian Army on high alert and deploy more forces along the Line of Control, which separates India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

The government also plans to immediately discontinue air and rail links with Pakistan.

After the December 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had deployed hundreds of thousand of soldiers on the border with Pakistan. Operation Parakram -- which cost the government Rs 6,500 crore -- led to a tense military stand-off with Pakistan, which raised the spectre of a nuclear conflict, but ended in the Pakistani promise that it would end support to India-based terrorism on its territory.

The Vajpayee government also cut air and rail links to Pakistan, which was only restored years later.

No troop mobilisation on Pak border: Army

PTI | November 30, 2008 | 19:11 IST

The Indian Army is not mobilising troops on the border with Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai terror strikes, a senior Army official said on Sunday scotching speculation in this regard.

"We have not received any orders from the government for moving our troops to the borders and there will be no (2002) Operation Parakram-like mobilisation," the official told PTI in New Delhi.

After the Parliament attack in December 2002, India had mobilised troops on the western front creating an eyeball-to-eyeball situation for 11 months but no war was fought.

The official also said the border ceasefire was well in place and there was no move to call it off as reported in some sections of the media.

India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the borders in Kashmir in November 2003, allowing Islamabad to divert more troops for quelling a raging Taliban-led insurgency in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The army official said there was no Pakistani troop movement along the border with India as had been reported by the media in the neighbouring country.

"Its a false propaganda that they (Pakistan) are redeploying their troops from Afghanistan border to here. They, in fact, need more troops in that region to fight with the Taliban terrorists," he said.

Around 90,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops are fighting pro-Taliban militants in the tribal region of Waziristan.

One lakh Pak troops could be redeployed along Indian border

PTI | November 30, 2008 | 17:40 IST

Warning of mounting tension with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan's security apparatus has said that up to one lakh troops could be redeployed along the border with India after diverting them from fighting militants in the restive Afghan frontier.

The next two days would be crucial in determining how the situation would unfold, senior security officials were quoted
as saying by the local media on a background briefing organised for Pakistani journalists on Saturday.
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Pakistan would wind up its "war on terror" on the Afghan borders if the situation in the east "spiralled out of control", the officials were quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper. The top officials categorised the current state of
Pakistan-India relations as "tense". "They (Indians) are taking the escalation level up at a very brisk pace," one official said.
Describing the situation as "crisis-like", the officials said Pakistan would pull out "all the troops" now deployed in the country's northwest if India deployed forces on its border with Pakistan.
There are about 90,000 to 100,000 troops fighting pro-Taliban militants in the tribal belt, the officials said.
India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the borders in Kashmir in late 2003, allowing Islamabad to divert more troops for quelling a raging Taliban-led insurgency in North West Frontier Province and adjoining tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The US has described the tribal belt as safe haven for Taliban and al-Qaeda elements.
If tension escalated with India, the "war on terror won't be our priority", a security official said during the briefing. He said the Pakistani security establishment would not "leave anything" on the Afghan border if troops were diverted to the Indian frontier.

Pakistan's stand had also been conveyed to the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, whose forces are battling the Taliban in Afghanistan and need the support of the troops on the Pakistani side of the border.
The officials claimed that no clue had been found so far about the involvement of "any Pakistani entity in the Mumbai
attacks". One official said: "If Indians have any evidence, they should share with us."
The officials said India had only officially conveyed that the conspiracy behind the Mumbai attacks was "hatched in
Pakistan". Another official was quoted as saying that there was "no involvement of any Pakistani institution in any
manner" in the Mumbai attacks.
The officials also said they were "shocked" to see the "level of sophistication" involved in the attacks in Mumbai
and that India "was not ready for that".
Some media reports quoted the security officials as saying that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had
"threatened Pakistan and its leadership" and this had "forced Pakistan to adopt a tougher line".
India had put its Air Force on high alert, the officials claimed, adding Pakistan would take measures to "ensure its security and safeguard its interests." Pakistani troops and the Air Force have been put on "high alert" due to the tensions with India, The Nation daily reported. "We're very vigilant. If there is any threat we are ready for that," an official was quoted as saying.
The Nation also quoted the officials as saying that Indian authorities should "come to Pakistan with evidence", if
any, of a Pakistani link to the attacks. They said the visit of any Inter-Services Intelligence official to India "was also
in doubt" and unlikely to happen "in the near future".

Meanwhile, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha met on Saturday to discuss the situation in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 195 people and injured hundreds more.

No mobilisation of troops along LoC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
The Indian defence establishment has denied news items regarding deployment of Indian Army at international border with Pakistan.

It was false and totally incorrect that the Army or the combat aircraft squadrons were being readied for an attack on any location, said a senior functionary. No unit or formation of the Army had been moved from its existing location, said a senior official in the Armed Forces here. In case of the IAF also no combat aircraft have been added to any of the existing locations.

In any case, several frontline bases of the IAF are at Ambala, Halwara, Bathinda, Adampur, Jodhpur, Porbandar and other places. All are located at a flight time of less than 15 minutes from Pakistan. There is no need for any deployment.

The Indian Armed Forces were on a general state of alert after the Mumbai attacks, officials said, while explaining that an alert is issued after every major terror strike in the country when various establishments are asked to beef up security. But there were no orders for any troop mobilisation. A section of Pakistan media reported that tension was mounting between New Delhi and Islamabad in the wake of the terrorist strike in Mumbai.

The Indian officials, on the other hand, maintained that the general state of alert was also in response to a similar move initiated by Pakistan on its border with India after the Mumbai attacks. India had mobilised its Armed Forces after the attack on the Parliament House in 2001. As the Armed Forces were locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation, worldwide concerns about a possible outbreak of war between the two nuclear neighbours raged.

'He always led from the front'
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 30
Senior Army officers of Bihar Regimental Centre at Danapur Cantonment here fondly remember Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a brave heart of the 7th Bihar Regiment, who laid down his life fighting terrorists at the Taj in Mumbai.

Recalling his four years of association with Unni, Major R.K. Singh of the 7th Bihar Regiment said he (Unni) was inducted into the Bihar Regiment in June 1999 and since then he had been assigned many jobs at vulnerable places, including Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Pak border in Rajasthan.

But Unni always proved to be an outstanding officer who boosted the morale of his troops during difficult times. Unni had topped the "Ghatak test", one of the most difficult tests conducted by the Army for its command-level officers, not once but twice.

He had also proved exemplary valour and bravery during 'Operation Parakram' at Jodhpur. According to Singh, Unni's passion for bravery made him opt for the NSG commando training and on being selected for it he joined the NSG on a 30-month deputation in 2006.

He soon became an instructor at NSG Training Centre at Manesar, Haryana. According to his colleagues, he was not supposed to take part in the NSG operation at Mumbai as he was an instructor. But since he was an experienced officer and one of the best in his group, he was sent to lead the First Reaction Team.

Commander of the Bihar Regimental Centre, Brig P.S.Rathi, described Unni as a most disciplined, dedicated and upright officer of the Army and said the country had lost a brave and bright officer.

End of siege
A salute to the security forces

THE national flag hoisted on the Taj symbolised the end of the anti-terrorist operation that began soon after the terrorists started killing innocent people in Mumbai on Wednesday night. The Pakistani militants came by the sea, held the guests and other occupants of the Taj, the Oberoi-Trident and Nariman House as hostages and thereby traumatised a whole nation. Never before were the countrymen felt so crestfallen as when the demons in human form kept them on tenterhooks for more than two days. But for all the failures and fumblings of the intelligence-gathering machinery, our security agencies rose to the occasion and in systematic and calibrated moves targeted the terrorists, one by one, and liberated the hostages causing minimum collateral damage to the hostages and the buildings, notably the architecturally marvellous Taj.

The commandos of the elite National Security Guards (NSG), popularly known as the Black Cats, did a wonderful service from the moment they landed in Mumbai and began their onslaught against the terrorists. The martyrdom of Major Unnikrishnan of the NSG, the only son of his parents, who led from the front, was the high price it paid to liberate the Taj from the beasts. Immeasurable was the sacrifice made by valiant police officers like the Maharashtra Police's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Inspector Vijay Salaskar, who were all killed on the first night of the attack. Various agencies like the NSG, the Army and the Maharashtra Police coordinated with one another, often subordinating their individual egos, to free the metropolis from the vicious terrorist hold. The nation will be eternally grateful to them for their sacrifices.

Like the security forces which rose to the occasion, the hotel employees did everything possible to take care of the welfare of their guests, though they themselves faced a grave risk to their lives and some of them even fell to the terrorist bullets. The attack brought Mumbai to a standstill with even its Stock Exchange closed, but the people did not lose their cool and rose above the usual casteist, religious and regional divisions to stand united in the face of adversity. Small wonder that the terrorists who came to kill 5,000 and bring India on its knees ended up as abominable corpses.

Delhi weighs options without sabre-rattling

SUJAN DUTTA

New Delhi, Nov. 30: Global fears that the attack on Mumbai will spark an Indian military reprisal against Pakistan have mounted, but New Delhi is not looking for brinkmanship.

Highly placed sources in New Delhi said they did not favour the kind of response that followed the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

India's response, they said, would distinguish between the government of Pakistan, whose President Asif Ali Zardari came on Indian television last night and promised to co-operate, and organisations or agencies alleged to be involved in a terror network.

In 2001, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government steadily scaled down diplomatic relations with Pakistan and ordered a full-scale mobilisation of armed forces on the border, an action that continued over three weeks and lost its way in an eyeball-to-eyeball stalemate for nearly a year.

Such a hasty military mobilisation would fritter away the diplomatic goodwill and sympathy for India, senior government leaders told a Congress Working Committee meeting last evening.

Television channels were requested to pull out reports that suggested India was considering suspending the ceasefire on the Line of Control and freezing diplomatic ties with Pakistan.

Pakistani security officials said last night they would consider re-deploying nearly 100,000 troops from the Afghan border to the frontier with India after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting with defence minister A.K. Antony and the military and intelligence chiefs.

Pakistani leaders, including foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, worried that sensitivities could be touched off in "24 to 48 hours".The re-deployment warning goes against the grain of America's war on the Taliban, which President-elect Barack Obama has promised to intensify after he takes over in January, and would have alarmed the US and other countries with forces in Afghanistan.

US President George W. Bush, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso spoke to Singh today.

Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, too, was contacted by several of his counterparts from western countries.

"As evidence mounts that last week's attacks in Mumbai may have originated on Pakistani soil, American officials' aggressive campaign to strike at militants in Pakistan may complicate efforts to prevent an Indian military response, which could lead to a conflict between the bitter enemies," The New York Times said, voicing fears of a flare-up.

This evening, however, there was no evidence of extraordinary movement by the armed forces. A senior defence ministry official said a normal state of alert that follows a major terror strike was on. But there was no order to cancel the leave of officers and soldiers or ask important units to move to the borders with hardware. The army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, returned this morning, on schedule, from an official five-day visit to South Africa and Botswana.

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