India Threatens Attack On
Militants And Pakistan Army
The News - Pakistan

OCCUPIED JAMMU: India's chief military commander in held Kashmir warned Wednesday that India reserved the right to launch military strikes on the Pakistan Army and militants if they continued "hostile acts" in the disputed Himalayan region.
The unusually combative statement came as "militants" 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, assisted by the Pakistan Army, continue to carry out hostile acts including sabotage, infiltration, raids or intrusions... we reserve the right to take military action against Pakistani military and terrorist targets as deemed appropriate," he said.
"Our military response will be deliberate and carefully 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 Jammu.
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 witnessed 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 exists" 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 added.
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 complacency 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. Tension 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 in 1947.


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