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Thursday, 11 December 2008

From Today's Papers - 11 Dec

They want to destroy Pakistan, too

By Asif Ali Zardari

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The recent death and destruction in Mumbai, India, brought to my mind the death and destruction in Karachi on Oct. 18, 2007, when terrorists attacked a festive homecoming rally for my wife, Benazir Bhutto. Nearly 150 Pakistanis were killed and more than 450 were injured. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai may be a news story for most of the world. For me it is a painful reality of shared experience. Having seen my wife escape death by a hairbreadth on that day in Karachi, I lost her in a second, unfortunately successful, attempt two months later.

The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India but also at Pakistan's new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated. Supporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with a vested interest in perpetuating conflict do not want change in Pakistan to take root.

To foil the designs of the terrorists, the two great nations of Pakistan and India, born together from the same revolution and mandate in 1947, must continue to move forward with the peace process.

Pakistan is shocked at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. We can identify with India's pain. I am especially empathetic. I feel this pain every time I look into the eyes of my children.

Pakistan is committed to the pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks. But we caution against hasty judgments and inflammatory statements.

As was demonstrated in Sunday's raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers. Not only are the terrorists not linked to the government of Pakistan in any way, we are their targets and we continue to be their victims.

India is a mature nation and a stable democracy. Pakistanis appreciate India's democratic contributions. But as rage fueled by the Mumbai attacks catches on, Indians must pause and take a breath. India and Pakistan - and the rest of the world - must work together to track down the terrorists who caused mayhem in Mumbai, attacked New York, London and Madrid in the past, and destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September. The terrorists who killed my wife are connected by ideology to these enemies of civilization.

These militants did not arise from whole cloth. Pakistan was an ally of the West throughout the Cold War. The world worked to exploit religion against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by empowering the most fanatic extremists as an instrument of destruction of a superpower. The strategy worked, but its legacy was the creation of an extremist militia with its own dynamic.

Pakistan continues to pay the price: the legacy of dictatorship, the fatigue of fanaticism, the dismemberment of civil society and the destruction of our democratic infrastructure. The resulting poverty continues to fuel the extremists and has created a culture of grievance and victimhood.

The challenge of confronting terrorists who have a vast support network is huge; Pakistan's fledgling democracy needs help from the rest of the world. We are on the frontlines of the war on terrorism.

We have 150,000 soldiers fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their extremist allies along the border with Afghanistan - far more troops than NATO has in Afghanistan.

Nearly 2,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives to terrorism in this year alone, including 1,400 civilians and 600 security personnel ranging in rank from ordinary soldier to three-star general.

There have been more than 600 terrorism-related incidents in Pakistan this year. The terrorists have been set back by our aggressive war against them in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Pashtun-majority areas bordering Afghanistan. Six hundred militants have been killed in recent attacks, hundreds by Pakistani F-16 jet strikes in the last two months.

Terrorism is a regional as well as a global threat, and it needs to be battled collectively. We understand the domestic political considerations in India in the aftermath of Mumbai. Nevertheless, accusations of complicity on Pakistan's part only complicate the already complex situation.

For India, Pakistan and the United States, the best response to the Mumbai carnage is to coordinate in counteracting the scourge of terrorism. The world must act to strengthen Pakistan's economy and democracy, help us build civil society and provide us with the law enforcement and counterterrorism capacities that will enable us to fight the terrorists effectively.

Benazir Bhutto once said that democracy is the best revenge against the abuses of dictatorship. In the current environment, reconciliation and rapprochement is the best revenge against the dark forces that are trying to provoke a confrontation between Pakistan and India, and ultimately a clash of civilizations.

Asif Ali Zardari is the president of Pakistan.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/09/opinion/edzardari.php

Our Own War

I am intrigued by the shortsightedness of the proponents of war. After all, what do they have in mind? Do they expect the Indian army to enter Pakistan and occupy it to 'cleanse' it of terrorists, a la United States in Iraq?

WAQUAR AHMED

No words of condemnation and dismay are enough to convey the gruesomeness of recent terror unleashed in Mumbai. Sadly, we live in times when gun-trotting lunatics, with perverted notions of 'retribution' and 'struggle', hold our society to ransom and instill terror in our lives, our imagination. The failure of the Pakistani state in effectively governing several parts of the county, in addition to sections within its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) going rogue, has destabilized South Asia as a region. Recurring bomb blasts in public spaces and assassination of politicians (a la Benazir Bhutto) are consequences of a failed Pakistani state. Pakistan too has become a victim of its own failure -- innocent people in Pakistan, just as in India, have lost their lives on account of violence and bomb blasts. So where do we go from here? What options do we have as a nation, as a global society? How do we prevent loss of innocent lives, make India and the world a better place for one and all?

Even as we assess the challenges ahead of us, cries of "carpet bombing", "jihadis in slums of Mumbai flying Pakistani flags" and "wage war on Pakistan" grows louder -- jingoists in our society, sometimes with religion-based prejudices and sometimes without, have found the opportune moment to come out of their closets. Increasingly, a numerical minority, even though privileged in terms of class position, have been pleading for an 'upgrade' in India's stature from an anti-imperialist, post-colonial, non-aligned nation to one that mimics the strategies of imperialist powers, one that becomes a sub-hegemon -- we want out own "preemptive strikes," our own war, even as we desire our own Halliburtons and Enrons.

But imperialist strategies are fraught with contradictions as it creates new problems and fuels resentments, further endangering the people it claims to fight for.

I am intrigued by the shortsightedness of the proponents of war. After all, what do they have in mind? Do they expect the Indian army to enter Pakistan and occupy it to 'cleanse' it of terrorists, a la United States in Iraq? But have imperialist aggressions ever solved problems, resolved conflicts? Have imperialist interventions, extending from Guatemala to Chechnya, Congo to Zimbabwe, and Iraq to Palestine made the world a safer place? Or are the proponents of war suggesting that India should infringe on Pakistan's sovereignty and bomb certain regions suspected of harboring terrorists and their training camps? Will our newfound sense of imperialist morality justify possible loss of innocent lives in Pakistan, on account of our 'strategic' military strike, simply as collateral damage? Is Gandhi's India ready to justify bombing of civilian areas? We need to remind ourselves that during the Vietnam War, the United States dropped nearly two million tons of bombs in Laos (Laos was not directly involved in this hostility), 30 percent of which failed to go off. In addition to those who were killed during the war, hundreds of innocent people in Laos die every year on account of the undetonated bombs that were dropped several decades ago. War is an imperialist extravaganza, with tremendous moral ramification for any nation. So what is India's moral position in the face of terrorism, violence, and extraordinary challenge?

Military strikes on civilian areas in Pakistan will only fuel support for the groups that use terrorism. Innocent victims of possible aggression on India's part would simply conclude that India is a threat to their life and security. This would make recruitment of individuals, by international terror networks, easier. An alternative scenario is that a war would lead to the collapse of the already failed Pakistani state.Who would take control of Pakistan's army and weapons under such a scenario? Will India be able to deal with such a scenario? Will this make India safer?

But then, the question arises: How do we save innocent lives in India and how do we keep our country safe? In my view, first, we need to understand that acts of terror are not the same as acts of wars and wars cannot be the solution to acts of terror, despite our suspicion that sections within the ISI (a state based, rather than a stateless institution in Pakistan) may have gone rogue. Second, we need to engage in multilateral diplomacy, and invoke international laws to mount pressure (if Pakistan is unwilling to tackle the menace of fanatic and violent groups) or support possible Pakistani efforts (if the Pakistani government is found willing to tackle the menace). Terrorists must be brought to justice. But the fact that India has been the victim of terrorism does not give it the license to ignore moral dilemmas of war. Equally important is the fact that justice is about ensuring safety of innocent lives, whether in India, Pakistan, USA or any part of the world. War categorizes entire nations as enemies. Wars, cluster bombings do not separate the grains from the husk, the innocent and the victims from the villains. Can we set a wrong, right, by carrying out a wrong, a war?

Waquar Ahmed, a citizen of India, is a professor at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA.

http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20081204&fname=waquar&sid=1

Snap ties with Pakistan till it is tough on terror

The Centre must begin with closing down the Pakistan Embassy here and its counterpart in Pakistan. There is an immediate need first to cut off diplomatic ties. There should be no VISA to any Pakistan national to India and stop all trade.

WE HAVE seen enough of bilateral dialogues with Pakistan and have been witnessing innumerable peace processes that finally end up in some sort of attack on the Indian sovereignty. But after all these debates, criticism of Pakistan for not handling the issue of terrorism in a serious manner, what has been the final outcome? Have we really progressed anywhere in any direction in resolving all disputes and is the government of India really serious and prepared to handle the dreaded terror groups which are united and up against the Indian republic?

What immediate lessons have we taken from the recent Mumbai terror attacks? What is the use of political gossip and mere strong words on TV channels which will not cut the ice? What measures can we take to put some sort of pressure both politically and economically at the earliest so that the Pakistan government which is in no position to take any strong action against the fundamentalist groups' active in Pakistan and have been a potent threat to the entire world community should become serious and do something at ground zero.

One feels the Union government must begin with closing down the Pakistan Embassy here and its counterpart in Pakistan. There is an immediate need first to cut off diplomatic ties with Pakistan. There should be no VISA to any Pakistan national for coming to India. And stop all trade. Then as a next strong step, the government should ask the Pakistan government not to use Indian air space and then Indian waters for its aircraft and ships. That will make a dent on their economy and thus the funding to these militant groups will also stop. No sports ties with Pakistan till it takes strong measures to crush militants and their organizations present on its soil.

The people of India should boycott all cultural shows which are performed by Pakistan artistes. There is no need to buy Pakistan music albums. What sense does it make to have road links and rail links to Pakistan? We must stop Samjhauta Express and Lahore Bus services. Why do we need Pakistan? We are self-sufficient by all means and if we declare Pakistan a rogue state, it would hardly bring any change in our lives. More, we need to identify such political leaders who take money from foreign hands and have always been sympathetic to Pakistan.

We are happy as Indians and we can live without Pakistan. There is no need to talk to Pakistan again and again which has been unabatedly supporting the proxy war. Moreover, the Indian government and Intelligence agencies should also keep a vigil on the porous Nepal border where the ISI has been active in sending counterfeit currency, drugs and arms to the Indian side. I, as a citizen, fail to understand why we are so soft on Pakistan when we have all its history of 60 years and till date not even once Pakistan has been good to India. Why can't people there work for their own development rather than creating nuisance in other nations? The common citizen of Pakistan too, has been facing economic hardships despite which they have not been able to put any kind of pressure on their political leaders perhaps they know that the real control of Pakistan lies in the hands of ISI and the Army. So they are helpless too.

The time has come for the Indian government to act now on their words because words lose relevance if they are not followed by any concrete action.

Rivalry Between Intelligence Agencies
is Costing India Lives

By Sahil Makkar

New Delhi
India is paying a heavy price for differences among its intelligence agencies as they rarely exchange inputs among themselves, say insiders. And the Mumbai terror attack was a tragic outcome of this lack of cohesion.

The country has three main intelligence agencies - the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for collection of internal and counter intelligence, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for external intelligence, and Military Intelligence (MI) that collects military-related inputs.

"Rivalry between the three major intelligence agencies, RAW, IB and MI, has done a lot of damage not only to the agencies but also to the nation. The reluctance to share intelligence is the bane of all agencies, at least in India," Major General (retd) V.K. Singh, who has retired from RAW and has seen the intelligence agencies from close quarters, told IANS.

"The proclivity to take the credit has given rise to the unpardonable trend in every agency of keeping vital intelligence close to its chest until it is disclosed to someone important enough in the political hierarchy, sometimes even the prime minister," Singh said.

Singh in his book, "India's External Intelligence - Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing", noted that rivalry between IB and RAW was perhaps unavoidable in view of their past history and functions.

"An Indian recruited by a foreign militant group is definitely the concern of the IB. When he is taken across the border for training he becomes the interest of RAW. When he re-enters India and carries out strikes against the military installations in Jammu and Kashmir, it becomes the worry of MI.

"Should he be handed over from one agency to the other every time he crosses a border, or should all keep a watch on him together? Should the army and IB be allowed to monitor trans-border radio and satellite links, which strictly fall within the purview of RAW?

"These are the questions that have no clear answers and only add to the blame game between the intelligence agencies," Singh said.

According to former IB joint director Maloy Krishna Dhar, RAW's reluctance to share information with the IB is legendary. There have also been instances where personality clashes have deterred effective coordination between the national security advisor (NSA) and RAW chiefs.

A.K. Mitra, former director general of the Border Security Force (BSF), said: "Not sharing intelligence information is a problem between all the agencies."

"There is no justification for holding critical information and not sharing the critical information with other agencies or security establishments. The nation is paying a price for it. If we want to thwart terror attacks, we must pull up our socks and bring the guilty officers to book," Mitra told IANS.

After the Nov 26 terror attack on Mumbai that lasted 60 hours and in which 172 people were killed, the three agencies took potshots at each other.

RAW and IB claimed they had given information specifying the places and the time when the terrorists could strike. But the state government and the navy denied any actionable inputs. The cabinet secretary is now looking into the matter.

According to government sources, the Joint Committee of Intelligence (JIC), which analyses intelligence data from the IB, RAW and the directorates of military, naval and air intelligence and works under the National Security Council, has failed to live up to expectations.

"It is almost defunct and the chiefs of intelligence agencies have very rarely met under the JIC roof in the last two years," said a source.

Quoting the report of the Kargil Review Committee in his book, Singh said: "The army never shared its intelligence with the other agency or JIC".

(Sahil Makkar can be contacted at sahil.m@ians.in)

Deny Safe Haven and Bring Terrorists to Justice: Security Council
By Lalit K. Jha

United Nations
Expressing deep concern over "continuous terrorist attacks around the world", the UN Security Council has underlined the need to strengthen existing mechanisms and cooperation for a joint fight against terrorism.

This is essential to find, deny safe haven and bring to justice any person who supported, facilitated or participated in the financing, planning, preparation or commission of terrorist acts, the Security Council said in a presidential statement Tuesday afternoon.

The statement, read by Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, was issued following a daylong debate on 'Threats to international peace and security cause by terrorists'. All members of the Security Council unanimously condemned the horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai last month, which killed 179 people, including 26 foreign nationals.

Croatia is the president of the Security Council for the month of December. The presidency of this powerful UN body rotates among its 15 members every month.

The presidential statement condemned in the strongest terms the incitement of terrorist acts and repudiated attempts at the justification or glorification of such acts. It reaffirmed the importance of countering radicalisation and the exploitation of young people by violent extremists.

The Mumbai terror attack dominated the proceedings of the Security Council Tuesday with almost all 46 speakers condemning the 60-hour siege of India's financial capital.

Addressing the meeting, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said combating the global scourge must be one of the international community's main collective priorities.

"The attack in Mumbai at the end of last month was an attack on us all," said British Ambassador to the UN John Sawers. "We must all focus on helping the government of India in whatever ways we can to investigate these attacks and bring those responsible to justice."

The US reiterated that countries should deny safe haven to terrorists.

So did Russian Ambassasor Vitaly I. Churkin, who said it was "important to expose and neutralise terrorist networks, to block financial flows and to eliminate safe havens".

Attacks in Mumbai had been evidence of the continuing threat of terrorism and a reminder of the collective responsibility of the international community in combating that threat, he said.

China's Zhang Yesui said the alarming terrorist attacks that occurred in Mumbai underlined that terrorism was still a strong threat to international peace and security.

Indian Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed maintained that the terrorists were from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan. He called for the Security Council and Pakistan to proscribe the LeT front Jamaat-ud-Dawa and urged that all those who were in any way responsible for the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice.

Croatian President Stejpan Mesic said events in Mumbai had confirmed in an "extremely tragic way" that terrorism was a global threat, rather than a threat affecting a particular country.

Check Terror, Don't Harp on Kashmir:
India to Pakistan

By Lalit K. Jha


United Nations
India has told Pakistan that it should concentrate on taking action against those terrorists who were instrumental in the Mumbai terror attacks rather than harping on the Kashmir issue.

"Pakistan should focus its attention on taking action against the criminals who perpetrate or aid, abet, finance or otherwise support terrorism, rather than bringing before this council extraneous issues relating to the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir," Indian diplomat Vikram Doraiswami said at the UN headquarters here Tuesday.

Doraiswami made this statement using the Right to Reply option during the Security Council debate on terrorism after the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon raised the issue of Kashmir before the 15-member body.

"The issue at hand is that of terrorism and the use of territory controlled by Pakistan by terrorist groups based in Pakistan to perpetrate acts of terror in India," Doraiswami said.

In his speech, the Pakistani envoy tried to link terrorism in the region to the Kashmir dispute.

"The best outcome of the (Mumbai) tragedy would be the resolution of the issue of Kashmir," Haroon said.

Terrorists who India says came from Pakistan struck at several places in Mumbai on the night of Nov 26, eventually seizing two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre. The 60-hour nightmare left 172 people dead and 248 injured.

"We did not wish to raise any issues, but by jumping to conclusions, I would request my friends in India only to recall when the Friendship Samjhauta Express - I do not want to raise this, I am just giving an example - was burnt down with Muslim passengers killed on their way to Pakistan, fingers were pointed hastily at Pakistan. Later, it was proved that an Indian Army colonel was involved," Haroon said.

"Similarly, another point I would not have raised today, but under the circumstances, in Kashmir, Pakistan despite its domestic situation, is exercising restraint in international forums. This is how we would have liked to see the aftermath of Mumbai incident as well," he said.

Pakistan Arrests Do Little to Stop LeT: Report
By Arun Kumar

Washington
The Lashker-e-Taiba will not be crippled by the arrest of the purported mastermind of the Mumbai attacks and at least 19 other members of the militant group, an LeT coordinator has told a US daily.

"We're still well-organized and active," the unnamed militant, who serves as a coordinator for the outlawed Pakistan-based terror group, was quoted as saying by the Washington Times in an interview conducted in a safe house near Lahore.

The LeT coordinator told the daily that the organization's strength in Pakistan was in the thousands even though it was outlawed in 2002.

Pakistan Monday announced the arrest of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, alleged organizer of the Nov 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, who was among 20 arrested during a raid in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The LeT has "huge strength" and is concentrated in Pakistan's tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan, the militant was quoted as saying.

He ran his fingers through his bushy beard as he sat in a dingy room for the interview, surrounded by boys ages 15 to 20 who listened intently as he spoke, the Times said.

Inside the room was a wooden cupboard, a bed and two chairs. The walls were blank, and the space was lit by a solitary lamp. The man stood uncomfortably against the wall throughout the interview, his eyes avoiding the female reporter's face.

The sole gunman arrested in the Mumbai attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 21, has told Indian authorities that he is an LeT member. According to news reports, Kasab was born in a village called Faridkot in southern Punjab, Pakistan.

Reporters who have visited the village have been unable to find anyone who knows Kasab, the Times said. The LeT organizer said this didn´t surprise him because those who join his group are given other names.

"All those who join these organizations are given Arabic names," he said. "Sometimes to make them less conspicuous, they´re given non-Arabic but purely Muslim names."

Many of the members are school dropouts, the Times said citing those familiar with the workings of the LeT. One former member, who gave his name as Muhammed Yusuf, 27, told the Times in a telephone interview that he joined the outfit four years ago but became disillusioned with the organization within months and left.

The LeT organizer denied that the group had to purchase recruits. "Young boys come to us usually because their friends have convinced them, because they believe jihad is the epitome of being a good Muslim or because their families are involved," he was quoted as saying.

"Sufi shrines and mosques are usual meeting grounds for young boys," he said. "Often boys meet at these mosques and become friends. Then if one of the friends start becoming religious, he convinces the others to follow suit." The organizer said this was how he was inducted into the militant outfit.

Yusuf, the former LeT member, said the process of induction into a jihadist outfit begins with teaching boys about Islam.

Yahya Muhammed, an LeT spokesman, has denied that the organization has training camps.

But the Lashker organizer contradicted the spokesman's account. He said jihadist training is rigorous, takes place in the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan and is divided into several parts.

The first part involves classes that "last for 40 days and during this course, we are taught the use of light machine guns, Kalashnikovs, G3 pistols and grenades", he said.

"By the end of the training, we are able to assemble a Kalashnikov with our eyes blindfolded."

The second part, known as Hezbollah, "continues for 30 days and involves the making of bombs, use of chemicals and detonators etcetera," he said. A third part involves training in guerrilla fighting, he said.

He said a fourth part was reserved for a very few. He said he had not received the training and so could not describe it.

India denies reports of putting IAF on high alert

Press Trust of India

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 7:15 PM (New Delhi)

India on Wednesday dismissed reports that it had put its Air Force on a state of "high alert" and said nothing unusual or extraordinary has been done.

"It is normal for the armed forces to remain on alert even in normal times," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said in New Delhi, after reports started circulating that the Indian Air Force (IAF) was put on an alert in the wake of the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks.

Army, Navy and IAF officers too independently denied reports that their respective headquarters had instructed their units and troops to be on a state of alert or had cancelled leave of personnel to ensure its force levels were high.

"It is a general norm that there cannot be more than 25 per cent personnel on leave, temporary duty or studying a course. At all times, the units have a minimum of 75 per cent of its personnel at their place of posting," officers said.

And in matters of national security and protecting the country from external threats, the armed forces have to remain alert all 365 days of the year, they said.

However, on the basis of intelligence inputs that there could be a 9/11-type of aerial terror threats pointed out by Defence Minister A K Antony last week, the IAF was prepared to counter any such attacks, they said.

To that effect, the IAF had decided to spruce up its surveillance cover of the national capital region by deploying Aerostat radar in and around Delhi, apart from strengthening the air defence units all over the country, they added.

US warns of consequences if Pakistan fails to act

Press Trust of India

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 11:08 PM (Washington)

Warning of "unintended consequences" if Pakistan did not act against the "non-state actors" who used its territory to stage attacks in Mumbai, the US on Wednesday said it was "working hard" to verify what Islamabad was actually doing against such elements.

"... I think we have to be concerned because it's obviously a time of great outrage in India. And what I emphasised was that this was a threat to both Pakistan and India these terrorists," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview to the National Public Radio.

Pakistan, she stressed, needed to act since its territory had been used by "these non-state actors to make those (Mumbai) attacks."

"Also, Americans were killed, which gave the United States a special responsibility," Rice said.

Amid reports of arrest in Pakistan of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, the two top commanders of LeT which is blamed for the Mumbai strikes, she said she was "pleased" to see that some "important steps" are being taken in Pakistan.

"We are working hard to try and clarify and verify what is actually happening there, but there seem to be some positive steps being taken. The people who did this also wanted to abort what has been a positive direction in Pakistani-Indian relations," Rice said.

Noting that India and Pakistan were on the brink of war after the 2001 attack on Indian parliament, she said the ties between the two countries are "very different now."

"The Pakistani Government is a civilian government, a legitimate civilian government that has been reaching out to India, and vice versa. The Pakistani Foreign Minister was actually in India at the time that this took place. And so we have a lot to work with, and I think we're making some progress," Rice said.

Asked if she was confident that Pakistan is taking all steps and following all leads, Rice said "... they seem to be making important steps. Nobody wants to escalate this conflict. And to escalate it is simply going to invite unintended consequences and perhaps circumstances that are worse than the ones that we face now."

The Indian government "is working hard to improve its own counter-terrorism capability, to get the information that you need to stop attacks, to do what we did in overcoming the kind of stove-piping that is really so detrimental to using information to become knowledge, to become actionable. And the Pakistanis appear to be working to root out and to arrest some of these people, and that's very important," she said.

Rice also talked of the Mumbai attacks in reference to a question on the image of the US taking a beating as a result of treatment of terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay, the American detention facility in Cuba.

She said the US has always kept its international obligations, including the one on the Convention on Torture.

The US was determined after September 11 attacks to do everything that was legal and within those obligations, international and domestic laws, to make sure that it prevented a follow-on attack, Rice said.

"And information to prevent an attack is the long pole in the tent when you're dealing with terrorism. You can't wait until somebody's committed a crime and then go and punish them," Rice said.

"... I was just in India because of the Mumbai attacks, and they were going through the same issue of how you prevent attacks and how do you get the information that you need to prevent attacks. But a lot has happened since those days," she added.

India's last option against Pak: hitting terror hubs

CNN-IBN

DAMAGE CONTROL: India is building up diplomatic pressure against Pak to force it to capture militants.

New Delhi: India is building up diplomatic pressure against Pakistan to force it to capture militants who organised the Mumbai terror attack last month. Diplomacy is India's first option but the military option may well be the last if world opinion fails to move Pakistan.

India's primary targets would be terror camps and bases in Pakistani, including those of its main espionage agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence.

Terrorist training camps run by Lashkar-e-Toiba, the group accused of training the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai, just across the Line of Control in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir could be the first to be targeted by the Indian military's special forces.

Terrorist camps at a longer distance could be hit by long-range artillery. Pakistan army posts on the Line of Control could also be hit with artillery and multi-barrel rocket launchers.

But targeting the terrorist camps is not easy, as most of the training camps have reportedly moved to Waziristan. Most such terrorist camps were no more than shacks or a patch of ground for training and had no major infrastructure.

India has the option of an air strike against Lashkar's headquarters in Muridke near Lahore, but this strategy carries the risk of attrition. India could lose aircraft during the strike and the Pakistani air force could respond with retaliatory strikes. There is a risk of escalation.

The Pakistan army's key logistics installations, infrastructure like bridges on major rivers, communication hubs would also be suitable targets. These again would have to be hit from the air, but here too the risk of a war exists.

A naval blockade of the Karachi harbour is another option, but this may not be feasible at this stage as Karachi is used by the US for supplying its forces in Afghanistan.

India alleges that the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26 were trained and armed in Pakistan. Investigators say the sole terrorist who was captured alive in Mumbai has confessed that he was recruited by Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a Lashkar commander.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday announced that his Government had arrested Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah, another LeT leader.

War is not a solution

December 10, 2008 | 19:14 IST

What are India's options after the terror attacks?

What must India do, strategically and procedurally, to ensure that the nation does not ever again endure a brutality like the terrorism Mumbai encountered last fortnight?

Please contribute your views (in 400 words or less) to optionsforindia@rediffmail.com We suggest you list your recommendations; you can expand briefly on each item.

We look forward to a discussion so educative and illuminating that the guardians of our national security can learn from what you readers suggest.


K Lal says:

Pressurise the international community to declare Pakistan a terrorist State and to initiate economic and military sanctions against it.

Adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards Pakistani border posts firing on our posts in order to facilitate infiltration by terrorists. Such posts must be totally destroyed by our forces. Authority for such retaliation must be publicly given to our battalion commanders so that action is initiated without loss of time.

Intensify aerial and satellite reconnaissance on our borders to enable advanced acquisition of troop and terrorist movements across the borders and to aid planning for retaliatory action.

To participate militarily in a big way alongside the international forces in fighting the extremists in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is an important support base for the terrorists and it is in our interest to help sanitise this region and we should therefore be active participants, militarily too, out there. We already have many Afghan refugees and many of them could be inducted into the Afghan war alongside our own forces. Our participation in Afghanistan is entirely legal and would be welcomed too by the international community.

Most importantly, our active participation in the Afghan war would reduce the West's dependence on Pakistan as an ally against terror and allow it then to act more strongly against Pakistan's involvement with terrorists. Furthermore, our participation in the Afghan war would be extremely unpalatable to the Pakistan army and government and they would not then be able to blackmail the West by threatening to relocate their forces from the Afghan border to the the Indian border.

Nilesh Khanolkar says:

I think terrorism is one of the important things but root cause is somewhere else... We need to get disciplined by following these steps:

ALL citizen must say "No" to corruption, ie, no one will offer and no one will accept bribe.

Make all borders (countrywide-statewide) secure. Put automatic control mechanism wherever we can not deploy force. Entry and Exit should be well monitored.

Clean-up internal mess.

Make every movement controlled -- every person/car/shop/office/building should have legal status. Unauthorised person (Bangladeshi, etc), unauthorised car, unlicensed hawker, unauthorised shop, office should be identified and deported/demolished. This would help to have legal status for everyone, so that there can be proper tracking mechanism incase of any unauthorised activity happens. Government will have extra TAX money too if everything is legal. We will have true democracy.

Municipal corporation/panchayat/etc along with police should visit all places and clean up illegal things (people, shops, etc). In fact, they have allowed lot of illegal things by taking bribes or under politicians pressure. They should take extra initiatives rather than waiting for people's complaints.

Every citizen should carry an identity card authorised by nonprofit organisation. They should have permanent or temporary residence proof.

Readers options, 1: Set up a federal investigation agency

Make all public places secure by keeping extra armed security/policemen. There should be guideline for citizens to act in terror situations. People will pay extra tax if required.

Every city/taluka should declare their action plan for next six months and status should be displayed on big banners at common places or in newspapers.

Every citizen should support policemen to do their job and respect them.

Finally, politicians should behave like regular citizen, ie, they should not take any special privileges like security or traffic clearance. They will understand pains of citizen. Even industrialist who are victims of terrorism and traffic problems gets regular treatment in public. Politicians should not be treated like Very Important Person.

Above steps will improve security and quality of living. People will respect for government and administrators. They will feel good while submitting tax.

Naya Savera says:

Post terror attack India has got very few options left which are:

1. Inform international community that Pakistan is a terrorist State and the government is a toy in the hands of terrorists.

2. Make a video recording of all the confessions of the terrorist caught alive through a hidden camera and put all those recordings in public forum and show the same to UN countries. Build a pressure on US for putting sanctions on all kind of military aid to Pakistan as the same is used by the Pakistani government. for helping terrorists and not for the benefit of their own common man. So giving any kind of aid to Pakistan is like feeding terrorism.

3. A nation has to protect its own interest. Bring anti terrorism law and federal agency with immediate effect and those who caught for helping the terrorists should be booked under that law and should be given capital punishment. Till we clean our own periphery, we will not succeed in war against terrorism.

4. Start hitting PoK so that terrorist camps which America is ignoring can be cleaned. It is a fact that 1/3 of the Pakistan is not under the control of democratically elected government but under control of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. These attacks will make them understand that even they can be eliminated and will force them to surrender. Mere diplomatic pressure will not help.

Manu Tandon says:

As of now EU and US are supporting India. Russia would anyway support us. War would be a costly preposition for India and in a way it would be dangerous since both are nuclear-armed countries. However, the following options are there for India till all 20 persons are handed over to India wherein whole world would unanimously support us.

Throw out all Pakistani nationals from India immediately including diplomatic staff. Give them 12 hours notice.

Stop all business interactions with all Pakistani companies and government on an immediate basis. Without notice. If any Indian company is affected the government should help.

Make it loud and clear to all airlines and shipping companies that any ship or flight that goes to Pakistan would not be allowed Indian air space and waters. Simultaneously stop the buss and train services immediately.

Mobilise full military might at the border. Pakistan would have to follow suit and the US would not allow this to happen and exert enormous pressure. Moreover, even if they do mobilise, there would be a HUGE financial burden on them.

Take the help of the Indian Diaspora to alienate Pakistani businesses all over the world wherever they have influence.

Lastly, there are some rivers that flow into Pakistan. If it is technically possible, STOP the waters or at least delay it. If they cry foul and talk about international laws, then remind them of the red corner notice against the wanted accused.

Dinesh Mishray says:

Have very close military ties with Israel and Russia.

Local police, intelligence, armed forces to be taken out from the purview of politics.

Two party (political) system similar to Western countries.

No political appointment after 7 years of holding any public post.

Minimum qualification for candidates to contest polls.

Retirement age to be set for politicians.

Immediately strike Pak terror camps joining hands with Israel and Russia.

C V Narayanan says:

To be alert is one of the best options we Indians have as of now. No suspicious movement should be overlooked. Strict vigil to be maintained over road, rail, air and sea unlike the first time.

Brijesh Sharma says:

Improve sources from the intelligence agencies, give them more freedom and support.

Motivate the police and armed forces, give them a salary hike so they don't try to take bribes, improve their living standards.

Equip our commandos and local police with sophisticated weapons and complete support.

Make our boundaries more secure, then only we can prevent infiltration.

I love my country, like my parents and my brother, I felt sorry for those who died in Mumbai. As an Indian I feel only our politicians are responsible, they are like our parents, their duty is to handle the home without any problems but I think our parents are not bothered to keep our home safe.

I request our leaders please look inside your heart and love this home.

Sujan Kumar Saraswati says:

The security environment in our country is a part of the overall national environment. In most of the earlier terrorist attacks, we have seen that these elements have been able to reach their targets almost unhindered. In most of the cases, they could get past all the security arrangements.

If we analyse it further, we will probably find that the security screenings are mostly compromised and the reason is our ego. We expect to be recognised, particularly if we are politicians or are civil servants. The poor security personnel can ask us for our identity. We do not expect our luggage to be frisked and take it as a personal offence.

The second issue is gratification. Our security personnel are motivated more if their job entails them some thing more than what is due to them. A normal man would not probably think of obliging the police or any other government servant. Only those who cannot support the legitimacy of their claim would like to oblige the public servant and that is a big compromise.

Delwyn D'Souza says:

We cannot dream of being a respected nation (forget about any superpower status) if we cannot act assertively and comprehensively in our own interests by destroying such elements wherever they maybe. First, respect yourself before others do. We cannot allow the US or any country to dictate actions to us about our own national security.

Arrests cannot ensure we will not be attacked again. We have to hunt down these individuals, one by one, no matter where they are. We cannot attack Pakistan for fear of a nuclear response.

If the government does anything less than attacking cross-border camps (Pakistan will not, for fear of backlash from within the country), then India will break down by itself . We will destroy ourselves. The time is . History will record this as the defining moment in our country's current survival and future status.

Govind Das Dujari says:

Pakistan defiantly refused to entertain any Indian demands. Had the Americans been really serious and turned the heat on the Pakistanis they would not have dared to refuse so flatly. It is only the US that can tame Pakistan, but the Americans are doing no more than lip service for their self-interest as Pakistan is more important to them for war on terror in Afghanistan than India.

Indian troops may be moved towards the Pakistani border in the same way the Vajpayee government deployed 300,000 to 400,000 troops on the Indo-Pak border in the aftermath of the Parliament attack. There will be no intention of war, but only eyeball-to-eyeball contact. Our troops will be just picnicking. Pakistan will have to match our number of troops on their borders. They will have no option but to redeploy troops from the Afghan border and other disturbed areas within Pakistan.

Pakistan is already under serious attack from various terrorist groups based in the NWFP and Baluchistan. The vacuum formed by the withdrawal of the army from the disturbed regions would help terrorists launch more attacks within Pakistan with greater ease. This will shake the Pakistanis very badly and make them feel the pain of the pinch.

The option that Pakistan has given to Americans to choose between the war on terror and supporting an aggressive India has no base. They will face more terrorist attacks in the absence of adequate army presence in disturbed regions. In fact, Pakistanis have no choice at all. In the same way, the vacuum of Pakistani army along the Afghan border will make American job of fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban too difficult. Both these countries will never like this situation to arise. They will immediately bow to Indian demands as soon as deployment order is issued and leaves of army officers and soldiers are cancelled, leave alone actual deployment taking place.

Raj Kumar says, India has very few practically possible options left out. All these options depend on how Washington will react.

Provide more evidence to Pakistan directly after thorough interrogation of Qasab rather bits and pieces through the media.

Save the Pak government and their media from the Pak army which is very essential for any concrete action from the Pak side.

Keep the US and their allies happy till extraditing/eliminating all terrorists.

Shourjo Ghose says:

What should the Indian government do? NOTHING!!! The PMO cannot do anything. The Manmohan Singh government is under tremendous pressure to look tough on terror. This is especially relevant considering that we are a few months shy of elections. Inaction now will make the government look impotent and ensure a landslide victory for the NDA.

However, should the Indian government respond with military force even in a limited fashion, like an airstrike or a missile strike on PoK training camps, it will open a Pandora's box. A limited strike by India will put the newly elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari under tremendous pressure to respond. If he fails to do so, he will look weak to the Pakistani people, who will turn to the military establishment and the Zardari government will fall in the next year.

If he responds to an Indian strike, it will trigger a war which Pakistan cannot hope to win, at least conventionally. A war will also benefit the military establishment as they will be the de facto rulers of the country.

Also, in case of a war with India. Pakistan has to move 100,000 troops currently fighting the mujahideen to the eastern theatre. The relieved mujahideen will bury the hatchet with the Pakistan army and in turn augment the Pakistani forces facing India.

Therefore, in no time India will be faced with three million heavily armed Afghans along with the Pakistani army, not to mention the wrath of the USA for disrupting their war on terror.

As the situation stands the government cannot do anything but strengthen the current infrastructure to fight terror and wait for their inevitable defeat in the upcoming elections.

B H Lokesh says:

Never go to war. War is not the solution.

Use powers available with the UN Security Council and impose sanctions. Pakistanis have to pay for their misdeeds.

Dry up financial resources to the Pak government and terror organisations. Let the Pakis starve.

Infiltrate Pakistan terror organisations and the ISI to collect information. There are many India-sympathetic Mohajirs in Pakistan who can do this job for India.

Bleed Pakistan by creating similar terror attacks. In this way we can keep Pakistan busy.

Tapan Arora says:

. Close all bilateral talks with Pakistan.

Stop PIA from using our air space.

Stop all trade activities with Pakistan.

No vessel bound to Pakistan and from Pakistan should be allowed to use our water space.

Revoke the Most Favoured Nation status assigned to Pakistan.

In the current scenario, both countries are nuclear armed and going in for a war means mass destruction of our country. Pakistan is on the verge of bankruptcy. If we really want to destroy them, we have to do it economically and politically without causing major harm to ourselves.

Dharmadas Pan says:

Unity of all Indians. No politics of religion and caste. All will remember that we are Indian first, then region, then religion (no caste).

Internal security to be tightened, better coordination between army, intellegance agency and state police. Independent state police department.

All parties will unite when any such action taken by the government which is better for India.

Need an independent body like the Election Commission who will judge that all parties are fulfilling their commitment made before elections. If not, a report will published and the party banned for the next election.

IAF not on high alert: Officials

December 10, 2008 | 19:23 IST

India on Wednesday dismissed reports that it had put its Air Force on a state of "high alert" and said nothing unusual or extraordinary has been done.

"It is normal for the armed forces to remain on alert even in normal times," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said in Delhi, after reports started circulating that the Indian Air Force was put on an alert in the wake of the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks.

Army, Navy and IAF officers too independently denied reports that their respective headquarters had instructed their units and troops to be on a state of alert or had cancelled leave of personnel to ensure its force levels were high.

"It is a general norm that there cannot be more than 25 per cent personnel on leave, temporary duty or studying a course. At all times, the units have a minimum of 75 per cent of its personnel at their place of posting," the officers said.

And in matters of national security and protecting the country from external threats, the armed forces have to remain alert all 365 days of the year, they said.

However, on the basis of intelligence inputs that there could be a 9/11-type of aerial terror threats pointed out by Defence Minister A K Antony last week, the IAF was prepared to counter any such attacks, they said.

To that effect, the IAF had decided to spruce up its surveillance cover of the national capital region by deploying an Aerostat radar in and around Delhi, apart from strengthening the air defence units all over the country, they added.

Armed forces likely to get more top-level ranks this year

PTI | December 10, 2008 | 20:21 IST

A huge New Year bonanza awaits the armed forces with Defence Ministry issuing the mandatory instructions to increase the number of General-rank officers in the Army, Navy and the Air Force by this year end.

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The instructions were issued recently on the basis of a Cabinet decision in October this year to implement the phase

II of the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee recommendations for cadre restructuring in the forces, allowing for greater

promotional avenues for officers.

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"The instructions are to give a break down of the number of posts cleared by the Cabinet while accepting the second

part of the AVSC report. A good number of the new General-rank posts will be created before the New Year," Defence Ministry sources said in Delhi on Wednesday.

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The Cabinet had approved 1,896 new posts in the three defence forces at the top-level from Army Colonels to Lieutenant Generals and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force. The implementation of the Phase-II of the AVSC report would cost the government exchequer Rs 8.44 crore annually.

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The decision was also aimed at stemming the high rate of attrition in the three services, which already faced a shortage of about 13,000 officers.

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It would also reduce the "flab" in the middle rungs from Majors to Lt Colonels in the army and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force.

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Under the proposal, the army will get about 1,051 new posts upgraded in select ranks and it will be implemented over

a five-year period. The upgraded or created posts included 20 Lt Generals, 75 Major Generals, 222 Brigadiers and 734 Colonels.

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The Navy, on the other hand, would get 342 posts of Commanders upgraded to select grade ranks from within the authorised strength of the Indian Navy. But this would be done over 10 years.

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The Cabinet had approved the creation of four new Vice Admiral, 14 Rear Admiral and 324 Commodore and Captain ranks under the AVSC report.

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The Air Force too would get 503 new posts by restructuring of the officer cadre of select ranks over a five-year period. That would comprise of six Air Marshals, 21 Air Vice Marshals, 61 Air Commodore and 415 Group Captains.

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With the armed forces not attracting enough talent in recent times and with Pre-Mature Retirements plaguing them,

the government had set-up the committee under former Defence Secretary Ajai Vikram Singh to suggest ways of making the services attractive as a career for the youth.

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Based on the committee's recommendations for restructuring of the officer cadre, the government implemented the Phase I of the report concerning lower rungs from Captains to Lt Colonels in the Army and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force in 2004.

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The new set of instructions issued by the Defence Ministry was for the Phase II of the AVSC report, sources said.

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Usually, promotions and vacancies in the forces are assessed calendar-year wise and hence the decision to issue

instructions for implementing the AVSC-II scheme within this year end, sources said.�����

In the absence of the instructions, the new posts at the top-level would then be assessed as per next year's promotions and vacancies and hence the urgency, they added.

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Though the AVSC-II implementation would provide more openings for promotions among the middle-rung officers, the total number of sanctioned posts in the forces, however, would remain the same, the sources said.

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"It is basically an effort at rationalising the strength of the middle-rung officers," they added.����

The instructions also included the Cabinet decision to reduce the number of permanent commissioned officers and a

corresponding increase in the number of Short Service Commission (SSC) officers and re-employed officers (for Army).

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Now the SSC officer will form about 60 per cent of all officer ranks at the lower level from Lieutenant to Lieutenant

Colonels, a jump from the existing 40 percent.

Court martial sentences Lt Col to 8-year imprisonment

PTI | December 10, 2008 | 20:26 IST

An Army court martial has sentenced a lieutenant colonel to eight years rigorous imprisonment and dismissed him from service after finding him guilty of corruption while serving in the Military Farms.
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Lt Col R Mittal was tried on six charges under provisions of Sections 52 and 63 of the Army Act for intent to defraud
and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline, Army sources said on Wednesday.
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The court martial, presided over by an infantry brigade deputy commander Col Purshottam Singh, found Lt Col Mittal guilty on four counts of the six charges he faced.
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Convened on May 16 this year at Raiwala in Uttaranchal, the court martial tried the officer and concluded its hearings last week, when the sentence was pronounced, sources said.
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However, its verdict is subject to confirmation by the Lucknow-based Central Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, sources added.
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Lt Col Mittal was accused of violating certain laid down policies and procedures, causing huge losses to the
government. It was also charged that Rs 5.8 lakh were recovered from his residence at Dehradun during a raid conducted by the military intelligence, on the basis of the charges against him.
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The accused officer pleaded "not guilty" to the charges and contended during the trial that similar practices and
procedures were followed in other military farms too.

The court martial, however, held him guilty on the basis of documentary and oral evidences produced before it by the
prosecution.
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The prosecution had contended that the government losses was estimated to be about Rs 2 crore, and the Dehradun
military farm, where the alleged criminal acts took place, was later closed down.
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While more officers and jawans are said to be involved in the case, the Army headquarters was contemplating action
against them.

Combating Terror
India-China armies hold exercise
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
Defence minister A.K Antony said today India and China would gain from the ongoing joint training exercise in Belgaum as the Armies of the two countries were training to tackle a common threat - terrorism. A spokesperson of Antony said a high-level Chinese defence delegation led by Lt Gen Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff, People's Liberation Army, had called upon the defence minister here today.

General Ma Xiaotian will travel to Belgaum to witness the closing ceremony of the India-China joint military training exercise.

The Chinese leader strongly condemned last month's terror attack in Mumbai and conveyed his government's condolences for the victims. Xiaotian said his visit to Mumbai was intended to convey a strong message of support to India at this point of time. Antony said terrorism was a menace the world over and needed to be fought jointly by all peace loving countries. The two leaders agreed to deepen mutual understanding and broaden the contacts and exchanges between their Armed Forces.

Xiaotian will return to New Delhi to lead the Chinese side in the 2nd India-China Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) on December 15.The Indian delegation would be led by defence secretary Vijay Singh. The meeting would discuss, among other things, issues concerning regional security.

U.S. Not Worried About Nuclear Security in India, Pakistan

Concerns over terrorism in South Asia do not extend to the security of Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons, a U.S. Defense Department official said yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 9).

"We see no reason at this point to have any concern with regards to the security of either countries' arsenal," said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, addressing the tensions spurred by last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

"Whenever you are dealing with terrorism in countries that are nuclear powers, it ... creates a heightened concern," he said. "And so, we want to work with them and any others who find themselves in the situation, to make sure that their nuclear arsenals are always secure" (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Dec. 9).

All 10 Mumbai attackers came from Pakistan, according to an Indian official who released their identities and photographs yesterday. Nine were killed by Indian security forces while one was wounded and captured. The survivor has described how the operation was planned, the Associated Press reported (Muneeza Naqvi, Associated Press I/Google News, Dec. 10).

India has asked Pakistan to arrest and extradite a group of terrorist suspects, and Islamabad has conducted a number of raids and detained suspects in the wake of the attacks. However, Pakistani officials said they would not send anyone to India.

"They are Pakistani citizens and will be dealt with according to the law of the land," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said yesterday. "No arrested Pakistani would be handed over to India."

Pakistani authorities have arrested dozens of people, including the leader of the militant group Lashkar e-Taiba, charged by India with organizing the Mumbai raids that killed nearly 200 (Chris Brummitt, Associated Press II/San Diego Union-Tribune, Dec. 9).

Time for decisive action
Enough evidence against Pak-based terrorists
by G. Parthasarathy

AS temperatures drop below zero in Washington D.C, there are two domestic subjects that dominate the discourse in America's national capital — the economic meltdown and the transition to the Obama Administration. Externally, however, the predominant focus of attention remains on the terrorist carnage in Mumbai, whose horrors reached every American home by nonstop television coverage.

A "lame duck" Bush Administration is infuriated by the behaviour of its "major non-NATO ally" Pakistan and Pakistan's attempts to obfuscate, confuse and divert attention away from its culpability in what is described as India's 9/11.

This outrage is tempered by the realisation that 70 per cent of supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan come through Pakistan, where in the last few days the Taliban have struck even in Peshawar, destroying over 200 trucks carrying supplies, including American troop carriers. Thus, while Indian fury at Pakistani culpability is understood and acknowledged, the Americans never tire of counselling "restraint" on an infuriated India.

The Indian effort in Washington to spell out the implications of the international community failing to close down the terrorist infrastructure in Paksitan has been sophisticated and measured. But a few facts need constant repetition so that the international community is not entirely led away by President Zardari's pleas for understanding about actions by "non-state actors" based in Pakistan — a euphemism for groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiyaba (LeT) and the Jaish-e Mohammed.

The most important of these considerations is that despite protestations to the contrary and demands for evidence, the Pakistan government already has enough evidence about the terrorist attacks carried out by these groups in India.

The proposal for a "joint investigative mechanism" by Pakistan is laughable, as Pakistan will stall or deny culpability, as it has done on the presence of Dawood Ibrahim in Karachi, whose mansion I have, incidentally, personally driven past in 1999. One does not provide evidence to a burglar in the investigation of a burglary!

But New Delhi will now have to bring out a White Paper detailing the evidence the world has from writings in the Pakistan media and by prominent Pakistanis like Ahmed Rashid, Amir Mir and Shuja Nawaz, which give graphic details of the ISI nexus with terrorist groups.

On December 13, 2001, well-armed terrorists stormed India's Parliament and were gunned down by alert security personnel. Investigations revealed that the terrorists had come from Pakistan and worked together with local contacts. I recall proceeding with a parliamentary delegation to Arab countries giving the capitals we visited details of evidence we had, including wireless intercepts, describing how the group, comprising members of the Jaish-e-Mohammed led by Masood Azhar, had been in touch with handlers across the border. Pakistan, however, accused us of indulging in a "blame game" and feigned injured innocence.

But, on March 6, 2004, Lt-Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi, a former Director-General of the ISI and then Pakistan's Minister for Railways, told Pakistan's parliament: "We must not be afraid to admit that the Jaish-e-Mohammed was involved in the deaths of thousands of innocent Kashmiris, the bombing of Indian Parliament, (American journalist) Daniel Pearl's murder and an attempt to assassinate President Musharraf."

Pakistani protestations of injured innocence are not new — Interpol investigations established that the ISI gave the hijackers of an Indian Airlines flight a pistol at Lahore airport in 1984.

The world must be made aware of these facts when Pakistan demands "evidence" to prosecute Masood Azhar, when General Qazi's assertion confirms that Pakistan itself has evidence on the role of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in the attack on Indian Parliament.

On January 13, 2001, LeT terrorists attacked the Red Fort in Delhi. Shortly thereafter, LeT Chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed boasted at a gathering of leaders of religious parties in Pakistan that he had unfurled Pakistan's flag in the capital of the country's past Muslim rulers!

Saeed does not confine his territorial ambitions to Jammu and Kashmir. Given Saeed's description of Hyderabad as "Hyderabad Deccan," his cadres operating in India call themselves the "Deccan Mujahideen".

Moreover, Saeed's credentials as a terrorist can be easily gleaned from his writings in the Lashkar mouthpice, the Dawa. The parent organisation of the LeT, known as Markaz-ud-Dawa, is very well funded, runs Islamic educational institutions and has cadres in Arab Gulf countries. It receives funds from donations within Pakistan and also from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Saeed has been close to the family of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He is a self-confessed terrorist. India does not have to provide "evidence" to Pakistan for Saeed to be prosecuted.

Probably, the best description of the Lashkar's activities has been written by Pakistan's present Ambassador in Washing-ton, Mr Hussain Haqqani, who acknowledges that the LeT is "backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistan's intelligence services".

The distinguished ambassador confirms that the Lashkar proclaims: "Muslims ruled Anadalusia (Spain) for 800 years but they were finished to the last man. Christians now rule Spain and we must wrest it back from them. All of India, including Kashmir, Hyderabad, Assam, Nepal, Burma, Bihar and Junagadh, were part of the Muslim empire that was lost because Muslims gave up jihad."

On Israel, Saeed asserts: "Palestine is occupied by the Jews. The holy Qibla-e-Awwal (First Centre of Prayer) in Jerusalem is under Jewish control." He further proclaims: "Jews, Christians and Hindus are enemies of Islam."

It is this blind religious bigotry and hatred for Israel, India, the United States and the UK that led to Indians, Israelis and American and British nationals being singled out for massacre by the Lashkar terrorists in Mumbai.

Over the past four years the Manmohan Singh government has let the country down by failing to highlight the danger posed by Pakistan's jihadi groups both internationally and domestically. This policy has to be drastically changed. There has to be a clear focus on establishing not only the motivations and ideologies of groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiyaba, but also their affiliations with Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front.

One decision for which the government has, however, to be commended was its quck realisation that there was no piont in negotiating with the terrosits and that the only way out was through Commando action. But the time has come to make it clear that if the international community does not succeed in dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan, including that of the Lashkar, Jaish and the Muzafarrabad-based United Jihad Council, India will be constrained to act on its own to ensure that the Mumbai outrage is never repeated.

Saber Rattling From New Delhi?

Posted by Sheila MacVicar

(CBS)

As Washington and New Delhi continue to push Islamabad hard to take 'meaningful' steps against Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders, militants and their bases, word comes from a diplomatic source in the region of continuing concern that India will lose patience, or otherwise feel the need to take direct action by bombing L-e-T sites in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

A U.S. intelligence source has told colleagues in Washington that the U.S. remains concerned; one reason why Secretary of State Rice and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Rear Admiral Mullen (who is the administration's point person on Pakistan) were so quickly sent off to cool tempers in New Delhi, and prod Islamabad into movement..

L-e-T has been identified as the group behind the Mumbai attack by both the Indian and U.S. governments. Yesterday, the Indian police released photos and IDs of eight of the nine dead gunmen. All of them, they say, came from Pakistan. Pakistan-administered Kashmir is their stronghold, and the location of at least one L-e-T camp, near Muffazarabad, where the Mumbai gunmen are believed to have undergone some of their training. It was raided Monday by Pakistan's army.

Any kind of military movement by either side threatens a quick escalation into all-out regional conflict between two nuclear-armed nations. But since 2003, the regional peace process designed to bring about rapprochement between India and Pakistan has had some impact; in fact, Pakistan's foreign minister was in New Delhi when the Mumbai gunmen struck.

Pakistan's civilian president published an op-ed piece yesterday, as part of Pakistan's campaign to persuade the U.S. and India that Pakistan is engaged in fighting a common enemy. Asif Ali Zardari began by recounting the story of his wife, the assassinated Benazir Bhutto, killed by terrorists last year in Pakistan. "The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India but also at Pakistan's new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated."

But tensions are still so high that India's Defence Ministry felt obliged on Wednesday to formally deny that India's Air Force was on high alert (a saber-rattling portent of possible military action).

"It's normal for the armed forces to remain on alert even in normal times," Defense Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told the Press Trust of India.

The army, navy, and air force officers, all independently denied reports that their "respective headquarters had instructed their units and troops to be on a state of alert or had cancelled leave of personnel to ensure its force levels were high."

In memoriam

Col Harnam Singh Mankotia, Military Cross, passed away in Chandigarh recently. Surprisingly, though he was a highly decorated officer, neither the armed forces nor the UT government accorded Last Post to his mortal remains.

He joined the Jammu and Kashmir state force in 1934 and was commissioned in the Indian Army in 1939. He saw action in World War II and received the highly coveted Military Cross in 1940.

Thereafter, he was appointed ADC to Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir. Subsequently, he was ADC to Yuvraj Karan Singh. He retired from Jammu and Kashmir Rifles in 1972.

Sq Ldr K.J.S. MALIK (retd), Chandigarh

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