- OCCUPIED JAMMU: India's
chief military commander in held Kashmir warned Wednesday that India
the right to launch military strikes on the Pakistan Army and militants
if they continued "hostile acts" in the disputed Himalayan
- The unusually combative statement came as
allegedly robbed a bank in Kashmir and, according to New Delhi, an Indian
soldier died in cross-LoC shelling from Pakistan Wednesday.
- Lieutenant General R K Nanavatty, who commands tens
of thousands of Indian combat troops deployed along Line of Control in
Kashmir, said his statement should be seen as a "message for the
Pakistan Army" from his military headquarters. "We are committed
to restraint along the Line of Control in Kashmir," the frontline
Indian general said. "But if the Pakistan army or terrorists,
by the Pakistan Army, continue to carry out hostile acts including
infiltration, raids or intrusions... we reserve the right to take military
action against Pakistani military and terrorist targets as deemed
- "Our military response will be deliberate and
calibrated. Our policies cannot be driven solely by the logic of the
asymmetrical situations existing between the Israelis and the Palestinians,
or the more recent US-led coalition against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"We will have to wait and watch to see how the US-led global war
on terror unfolds. Whatever the outcome, we will have to continue to
fight our own battles," the commander told reporters in held
- Gen Nanavatty compared the current clashes between his
troops and militants in disputed Kashmir to a war fought by India and
Pakistan in 1965 over the region. "The blatant aggression being
now in Kashmir is not entirely dissimilar to that in August 1965 when
India was compelled to undertake limited conventional operations against
Pakistan..." he said.
- Nanavatty's blunt warnings came a day after US Secretary
of State Colin Powell, who recently visited the two countries, warned
the South Asian rivals to take care and avoid a "flare up" over
Kashmir and instead concentrate on the US-led war on terrorism.
- The Indian general also said that although New Delhi
and Islamabad both possessed nuclear weapons, "space still
for limited conventional operations. "While every effort must be
made politically, diplomatically and economically to deter Pakistan, we
must remain prepared to exercise the military option," Nanavatty
- Meanwhile, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee warned
Pakistan on Wednesday not to underestimate India's might and said India
was not a weak nation of bangle-wearing women but a macho country of men
with metal bracelets.
- The war of words between the nuclear foes -- which has
escalated since the September 11 attacks on the United States -- has taken
an ornamental twist since Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said last
week the people of his country were not bangle wearers and could rebuff
a Indian military offensive.
- Vajpayee said Musharraf may have been lulled into
by the thought of India's bangle-wearing women. "I would like to
warn that in (the Indian state of) Punjab, where bangles are very popular
and were referred to demeaningly, men wear metal bracelets," Vajpayee
told a public meeting in the western Indian temple-town of Somnath.
has mounted between New Delhi and Islamabad over the disputed Himalayan
region of Kashmir and has threatened to undermine the US-led assaults
against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan. Turning more serious,
Vajpayee said the Indian army was on alert and prepared to thwart any
aggression. The two countries have exchanged fire across a tense line
of control in Kashmir.
- Vajpayee said the people of strife-torn Kashmir had,
on their own, decided to accede to India after the end of British rule
in 1947 and it could not be changed now. "We will not allow division
of the country again," he said referring to the partition of India
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