An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 01 October 2002

Our correspondent who is presently in New York has sent us this piece datelined 30 Sep in Pakistan, which according to him has been taken seriously by US citizens and this could affect winter tourism to India as there have already been some cancellations 


By Aslam Khan

ISLAMABAD: The government has picked up signals that India has begun putting in place a plan to carry out pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan in the eventuality of an American attack on Iraq, well-placed sources revealed to The News on Sunday.

The sources added that the government was taking the signals seriously and had ordered preparations to counter any such eventuality. "There have been several simultaneous developments in the past few days that indicate a sinister game plan by India against Pakistan," a high-placed official disclosed on the condition of anonymity.

"The Indians are making ominous moves through their army, navy and the air force, which has rung alarm bells here and we are taking appropriate counter measures to be in a position to neutralise any threat," he said.

He revealed that in an abrupt move the Indian army headquarters had ordered all personnel on leave to report back to the frontline units along the border with Pakistan by October 1. "More ominously, attack aircraft that were withdrawn to the rear bases in June are now moving back to forward operating bases," the official revealed.

Also, he added, the Pakistan Navy had picked up heightened activity of Indian ships and submarines in the Arabian Sea not far from the approach to the Pakistani waters.

"Allied intelligence gathered along with these developments indicates that New Delhi is putting in place arrangements that seem to suspiciously mirror recent threats hurled by Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani," he said.

"We believe that the new found Indian keenness for the American advocacy of pre-emptive military strikes against possible security risks is behind the latest military moves against Pakistan by New Delhi," the official said.

"It is clear that the moves are a follow-up of the recent statements by Vajpayee and Advani drawing parallels between the US and Iraq with the alleged cross-border terrorism across the Line of Control," he added.

"Pakistan is fully conscious of the ominous new developments across its borders and is adopting appropriate measures to counter any threat to its security on the land, in the air and the sea," he said.

He, however, refused to elaborate the military measures. "Suffice to say that our armed forces are not only capable of meeting any eventuality but also fully competent to counter any threat adequately," he added.

When contacted, senior security analyst Mirza Naseem Anwar Beg said the latest Indian threatening moves, if related to the American doctrine of unilateralism, indicated a new international climate that was polarising the established global security realm.

"The concept of unilateralism, especially in military terms, is a dangerous new trend," he said. "It is, however, a case of easier said than done when applied to Pakistan's case."
"India may want to imitate US unilateralism in the conduct of its foreign policy but what is apparently not clear to India is that even the US is finding it difficult to garner the support of such longstanding allies as Germany and France for the contemplated attack against Iraq," Beg said.

"On the face of it, India seems set to take a cue from a likely US attack on Iraq and launch a similar pre-emptive aggression against Pakistan on the plea of alleged cross-border terrorism," he said, adding that Islamabad must step up diplomatic pressure to counter this omnipotent threat.

A senior defence source confirmed to The News that there was unusually heightened military activity along Pakistan's border.

"The Indian armed forces' directives should be seen in the light of the aggressive statements by their leaders, which are indicative of their mood to re-escalate the tension in the region and take matters to an unacceptable level where they may even resort to use of force," the official said.

Requesting that he not be named, he informed that not only were the Indians adding to the strength of their naval units in the Arabian Sea, "we have noted the increasing visits of senior Indian generals to held Kashmir where they are addressing their troops with military rhetoric at the Line of Control."

Sources said that a high-level Indian delegation had just returned from Tel Aviv where it attended meetings of the Indo-Israel Joint Commission for Defence Cooperation.
The objective was to review their rapidly expanding military ties to cater for a hi-tech missile defence shield for India as well as the sale of Phalcon radar for use in planes with AWACS.

Israeli defence industry has emerged as India's second largest weapons provider after Russia with defence related trade between the two countries totalling more than $1 billion a year.

India has already acquired a powerful Green Pine Early Warning radar system from Israel, which is reportedly being deployed along the Pakistan border and signed a multi million dollar deal for purchasing an unspecified number of Aerostal long-range radar to bolster air defences along the border.

Israel has also supplied avionics and weapons systems for use in Indian Air Force as well as Naval Air Defence and anti-missile system for use by Indian Navy, the sources said. "While we object to these military acquisitions, India must realise that neither is it a super power like the US, nor Pakistan an isolated and crippled state such as Iraq," the defence source said.

"Pakistan will retaliate with all possible force if subjected to aggression," he warned. "India should stop equating itself with the US and drawing wrong analogies between Iraq and Pakistan. It will cut a sorry figure for any misadventure," he added.

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