Pakistan Moves Troops To Indian Border Amid Rising Tensions

We need to continue to keep an eye on this situation. Things can get our of control very quickly.

ISLAMABAD (AFP)–Pakistan has redeployed thousands of troops to the border with India, officials said Friday, in a dramatic escalation of tensions with New Delhi in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh summoned his military chiefs to review New Delhi’s “defense preparedness” while his foreign ministry advised Indians not to travel to Pakistan, saying it was unsafe for them to be in the country.

The developments sent relations plummeting to their lowest point since late 2001, when Kashmiri militants staged a brazen attack on the Indian parliament – an attack New Delhi blamed on the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e- Taiba.

India has blamed the same group for the Mumbai attacks and has repeatedly said Islamabad isn’t doing enough to rein in militant groups – a claim Pakistan rejects.

Both sides have said they don’t want war but warn they would act if provoked.

In Islamabad, senior defense and security officials told AFP thousands of troops were being moved from the restive northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to the east of the country along the Indian border.

“We do not want to create any war hysteria but we have to take minimum security measures to ward off any threat,” a defense ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said leave for “operational” armed forces personnel had been “cancelled as a defensive measure”.

A top security official, who also asked not to be named, explained that a ” limited number of troops have been pulled out from snowbound areas on the western border where they were not engaged in any operation”.

Pakistan’s army and air force have recently scaled back their operations against Taliban-linked militants in both the Swat valley and the Bajaur tribal area bordering Afghanistan. Both operations were launched in mid-2008.

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