Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Indian Newspaper: Pakistan’s Zardari Has Legitimacy, But No Authority

December 4, 2008

In the wake of the carnage in Mumbai, India is contemplating another round of coercive diplomacy. But the geopolitical winds are unfavourable. In 2002, India was successful in pushing Washington to arm-twist Pakistan. The then ruler Pervez Musharraf learnt a lesson. Today, India has less left behind its push, Islamabad has a greater hold over the US and, in any case, the lights are going out in the White House.

Most Indians believe the Army mobilisation that followed the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) attack on Parliament in 2002 was much sound and fury signifying nothing. It didn’t bring peace on earth. But Islamabad did learn a lesson and paid a price — which should be the goal of any Indian response to Pakistan-based terrorist outrage.

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

In this picture released by Pakistan People's Party, then ruling ... 
President Zardari.  No authority?
AP Photo/Pakistan People’s Party

The lesson of 2002: before 9/11, Islamabad could count on the US jumping in during any India-Pakistan terror crisis, point fingers at the two countries’ nuclear weapons and persuade New Delhi not to retaliate. After 9/11, the Bush administration told Pakistan, “If India wants to bloody your nose, they have the right.” US embassy officials rang up Indian journalists to stress that the US was no longer using the word ‘restraint’ when it came to India.

The price of 2002: India, after considering and abandoning the demand for the extradition of 20 terrorists because it feared its own courts would let them go, demanded Pakistan put an end to militant infiltration into Kashmir. New Delhi knew very well this would be a band-aid concession. But it calculated a few months of border quiet would be enough to push through a peaceful and fair Kashmir election. Its success on that front is the main reason the turbulent state has seen relatively low levels of violence since 2002.

Outwardly, it seems like India could play the same game again. Pakistan has denuded its border with India of troops. Most have been transferred to fight recalcitrant militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. If India waves a big stick, these troops would have to return to the eastern border. Washington is desperate for that not to happen as its Afghan war effort would be crippled. In theory, then, the US would be prepared to press Pakistan to cough up a concession to ensure the troop transfer doesn’t happen. However, the landscape has changed in all three countries. The most telling is that President George W. Bush is down to his last 50 days in office. There is very little desire in the US to cut the ground from under President Asif Ali Zardari’s feet. He is Mr Nice Guy and Mr Best Hope.

Which raises a question: whom exactly is there to arm-twist in Pakistan? As the recent ‘Now he’s coming, now he’s not’ farce over the ISI chief showed, Zardari only thinks he’s President. He has legitimacy, but no authority. Military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has authority, but no legitimacy.

General Kayani.  Photo Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

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Mumbai: Captive Terrorist Talking, Names Pak Kingpins, Says Indian Sites Evaluated in 2007

December 4, 2008

A Pakistani militant group apparently used an Indian operative as far back as 2007 to scout targets for the elaborate plot against India’s financial capital, authorities said Thursday, a blow to Indian officials who have blamed the deadly attacks entirely on Pakistani extremists.

By SAM DOLNICK, Associated Press Writer

As investigators sought to unravel the attack on Mumbai, stepping up questioning of the lone captured gunman, airports across India were put on high alert amid fresh warnings that terrorists planned to hijack an aircraft.

Also Thursday, police said there were signs that some of the six victims of the attack on a Jewish center may have been tortured. “The victims were strangled,” said Rakesh Maria, a senior Mumbai police official. “There were injuries noticed on the bodies that were not from firing.”

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard during heightened security ... 
Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard during heightened security checks at Chennai International airport in Chennai, India, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Indian airports were put on high alert after the government received warnings of possible airborne attacks.(AP Photo)

Members of an Israeli rescue group which had a team in Mumbai said it was impossible to tell if the bodies had been abused, however, because no autopsies were conducted in accordance with Jewish tradition.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting

How India fumbled response to Mumbai attack

December 4, 2008

It took 10 minutes for word of the Nov. 26 , Mumbai terror assaults to reach the top of the government of Maharashtra state, but nearly 10 hours for India‘s best commando team to reach the scene.

That delay may help to explain why it took three days for India’s security forces to overpower 10 assailants who police say killed at least 188 people and wounded more than 280.

By Padma Rao Sundarji, McClatchy Newspapers

Indecision by politicians and the delay in launching the commando force, however, don’t fully account for the extent of the slaughter, which now threatens to escalate into conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan , where the attacks are thought to have been planned.

“This was not the fault of any one organ of the security apparatus, but a systemic failure,” said Arun Bhagat , a former chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau , India’s main domestic intelligence agency.

Indian officials ignored advance intelligence warnings. Police officers ran away from the scenes of carnage because they lacked weapons, and their bulletproof vests were said to be defective. The Indian coast guard doesn’t have night vision equipment, much less the more advanced human detection gear used by China , Japan and other countries.

India’s security agencies are now rushing to point the finger at each other.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20081204/wl_mcclatchy/3115227

Security Scare at Delhi’s Airport In India

December 4, 2008

The police force in charge of security at Delhi’s main airport has denied reports that people have been shot and injured there.

Police are investigating “two sharp sounds that were heard at the airport”, the force told the BBC’s Delhi bureau.

Earlier, airport officials told the BBC shots had been fired, and that several gunmen had been killed or injured.

Security has been strengthened at Indian airports after warnings of possible attacks.

Indian media reported that operations at Delhi’s main international airport appeared to have returned to normal after security forces examined the terminal after the security alert.

Tensions have been high in India since last week when at least 10 gunmen went on a shooting spree in Mumbai, killing nearly 200 people.

Indian officials have blamed Pakistan-based militants for the Mumbai attacks.

BBC News

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An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi ... 
An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on December 4. India has put all of its major airports on high alert following warnings of possible attacks using hijacked airlines, officials have said.(AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

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Airports in India went on high alert Thursday following fresh attack warnings as officials said India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the deadly Mumbai attacks.

The alert came as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari promised the U.S. secretary of state his country would take “strong action” against any elements in Pakistan involved in last week’s siege.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

The new alert that warned of possible airborne attacks focused on three major airports — New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai — but security was stepped up across India. No details about the threat were released.

“This is a warning which we have received. We are prepared as usual,” India’s air force chief, Fali Homi Major, told reporters.

The British Broadcasting Corp. cited unconfirmed reports from airport officials as saying late Thursday that up to six gunmen had been shot and killed at New Delhi’s international airport. But Indian police told The Associated Press there was a minor incident and no deaths. “It was not a terrorist incident. No one was killed,” said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat. He gave no further details.

Heavily armed guards from India’s Rapid Deployment Force manned roadblocks outside airports, while others patrolled inside airport buildings among passengers.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting

Indian Media In Total Disbelief At Pakistan’s Denials On Mumbai

December 4, 2008

Newspapers and other media in India are expressing the opinion heard from the “man on the street,” that Pakistan is to blame completely and entirely for the recent terrorism within India, including the Mumbai bloodshed last week.

This picture released by the Press Information Department shows ... 
This picture released by the Press Information Department shows Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) talking with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a meeting in Islamabad. The White House on Thursday called on Pakistan to “act with resolve, urgency” in cooperating with India on the probe into attacks in Mumbai that stoked tension between the nuclear rivals.(AFP/PID)

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From the Times of India

….The government feels the attack this time was meticulously planned, with the help of top intelligence inputs and professional support. It thinks that it’s unlikely the Indian fishing trawler Kuber was hijacked. A well-planned attack mission like this would not depend on the off-chance of hijacking a boat for its success. Rather, the Indian crew of the boat were probably mixed up in smuggling and got sucked into this deadly game. And paid with their lives.

The government knows the attack originated from Pakistan. In fact, the Pakistan government doesn’t deny this. Even now when Asif Ali Zardari is telling Larry King that the attackers are “stateless people”, he isn’t saying they are not Pakistanis. Earlier, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was in India when the attack took place, told the media he was willing to send the ISI chief for a joint probe, signaling that he believed the attackers were Pakistanis.

When Manmohan Singh called up Zardari and Pakistan PM Gilani, both said the ISI director general Shuja Pasha would be sent to India to help out with the investigations. But by evening, the picture had changed. An ISI spokesman sounded very iffy about Pasha’s visit. “Let the government tell us and we’ll see,” he said.

In short, the ISI was telling the civilian government to get off. Meanwhile, the Pakistan army sounded a warning about an Indian military build-up along the border. Newspapers close to the army, like Pakistan Observer and Frontier Post, and TV channel Geo, played up this alleged build-up. Suddenly, the popular mood was turning — from a sense of outrage at the Mumbai killings to alarm about a possible Indian attack.

Pakistani students of Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba burn an Indian flag ... 
Pakistani students of Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba burn an Indian flag during a protest in Multan. Pakistan has promised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it will take “strong action” against anyone on its territory found to have been involved in the Mumbai attacks.(AFP/Mohammad Malik)

Why did the Pakistan army do this? First, to deflect attention from the Mumbai attack into which the ISI was being dragged (ISI and the army are very close after Pakistan army chief Kayani hand-picked Lt Gen Pasha as the ISI boss). Second, it was signaling to the world that the civilian government didn’t matter; what mattered was the army.

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Battling_jihadis_
India_has_few_options/articleshow/3794488.cms

Rice says Pakistan pledges to help find Mumbai suspects

December 4, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the Pakistani government had pledged to cooperate in rounding up suspects of the Mumbai terror attacks who operated from Pakistani territory or were of Pakistani origin.

By Salman Masood and Robert F. Worth
International Herald Tribune

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan, right, in Islamabad on Thursday. Also shown in photo: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, left, and the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. (B.K.Bangash/The Associated Press)

Rice flew to the Pakistani capital Thursday for talks after discussions Wednesday with Indian officials in New Delhi. She stressed that both India and Pakistan should cooperate fully to investigate the Mumbai  attacks and bring to justice those who perpetrated them. More than 170 people were killed in an onslaught on targets including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a café and a railroad station. Of a presumed 10 attackers, all but one were killed.

“What I heard was a commitment that this is the course that will be taken,” Rice told reporters at Chaklala Air Base after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

In Mumbai, investigators reported Thursday that inquiries so far had produced gruesome new evidence suggesting savage treatment of some of the eight Israelis killed at the Jewish center. Some of them appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, Rakesh Maria, a joint commissioner of police in Mumbai, told reporters.

He said interrogation of the survivor among the attackers had provided new evidence identifying another operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group said to have indoctr….

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http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/04/asia/05mumbai.php

Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

December 4, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”

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A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_china_piracy_1

The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

India Says U.S. Has Given O.K. To Strikes Into Pakistan if Islamabad fails To Assist With Mumbai

December 3, 2008

The United States has set the stage for punitive internationally-backed strikes by India against terrorist camps in Pakistan, if Islamabad does not act first to dismantle them, by rejecting President Zardari’s alibi that non-state actors were responsible for the last week’s carnage in Mumbai.

The Times of India 

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_sets_stage_for_
strikes_if_Pak_does_not_act/articleshow/3789520.cms

Related:
 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

U.S. Messge to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

Zardari Says Pakistan “In No Way” Responsible for Mumbai Attacks

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari denied his nation was involved in last week’s deadly attacks on Mumbai, India, and told CNN on Tuesday he’s seen no evidence that a suspect in custody is a Pakistani national as Indian officials claim.

CNN
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“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating all throughout the region,” Zardari said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview set to air Tuesday night. “The gunmen plus the planners, whoever they are, [are] stateless actors who have been holding hostage the whole world.”

At least 179 people were killed when a band of gunmen attacked 10 targets in Mumbai on Wednesday night, triggering three days of battles with police and Indian troops in the heart of the city — the hub of India’s financial and entertainment industries. Most of the deaths occurred at the city’s top two hotels: the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were "stateless actors."

Above: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were “stateless actors.”

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http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/02/pa
kistan.zardari.lkl/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

December 3, 2008

In Mumbai, it is now apparent that the terrorists that struck the hotels and other sites, killed nearly 200, tortured Jewish prisoners before putting them to death, and threw around hand grenades indiscriminately, were not your grandparents terrorists.

Because the Indian police captured one terrorist alive and a wealth of material and forensic evidence, we know several facts about the Mumbai terrorists:

–The surviving terrorist has told authorities he and the others were trained in Pakistan by the Islamist militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

–The terrorists were well armed with modern, first-rate automatic weapons and hand grenades.

–They used every conceivable modern technology to assist them in their deadly task: cell phones, GPS, Blackberries, text messaging and other tools were found.

–They had prepared physically and mentally for a long siege.  The dead terrorists are “beefy” well muscled men who seem to have worked out physically for months recently. There is some evidence that the terrorists used steroids.

–The susviving terrorist has spoken about mental and Islamic readiness and the fact that none of the terrorists had any fear of death.

–The terrorist, though Islamic fanatics, used cocaine, LSD and other drugs to assist them to stay awake and “one the edge.” Syringes, paraphernalia, and steroids were found on some of the terrorists.

–At least one terrorist wore a shirt bearing the Versace logo; a kind of Muslim taboo.  The use of the logo indicates that these men are unafraid to embrace what some Muslims consider “decadent.” 

The wearing of the “decadent” logo might seem a small, seemingly unimportant fact. But it could be evidence, combined with the drug use and other evidence, that these terrorist are unencumbered by any religious, cultural,  moral or other restrictions.

A criminal psychologist schooled in terrorism told Peace and Freedom, “these are mad dogs off the leash.”

This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with ... 
This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with a “Versace” logo carrying an automatic weapon as he enters a train station in Mumbai, late November 26. The man, Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, is being interrogated in a safe house in Mumbai, reports said.(AFP/NDTV/File)

Mumbai: In India, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Pressures Pakistan

December 3, 2008

As the United States tried to calm tensions between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressured Pakistan to cooperate fully in the effort to track down those responsible for the bloody attacks in Mumbai last week.
But, at a news conference in New Delhi, she declined to blame Al Qaeda unequivocally for the assault which claimed more than 170 lives and was blamed by India on militants in Pakistan.In a two-pronged diplomatic effort, Ms. Rice landed in New Delhi to meet Indian leaders on Wednesday while Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew to Islamabad to talk to Pakistani officials.

Ms. Rice said Pakistan had assured her that it would cooperate with India in its search for those responsible for the slaughter in Mumbai. But she stopped short of commenting on whether Pakistan would turn over fugitives as India demands.

She said President Asif Ali Zardari “has told me he will follow leads wherever they go” but she made clear that Washington expected him to do so wholeheartedly.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/world/asia/04india.html?_r=1&hp