M A I N   N E W S

PM meets defence top brass, reviews security
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

Ahmed Shuja Pasha
Shuja Pasha

India scoffs off ISI’s threat

New Delhi: India is unlikely to give any credence to Pakistan's ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha's threat that any Abbottabad-like attack would invite a befitting response, calling it a "tall claim" to hide his own failure. Brushing aside Pasha's warning, government sources said the ISI chief is not an operational man and the statement was just a reflection of how frustrated he was after Pakistani establishment's failure to detect the US raid on the hideout of Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. — PTI

New Delhi, May 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reviewed the overall security scenario with the military top brass in the backdrop of the killing of Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s reported statement that an Abbottabad-like operation by India would invite a befitting response from Islamabad.

The 90-minute meeting, held at the PM’s residence, was attended by Defence Minister AK Antony, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Army Chief Gen VK Singh, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar.

Official sources said the PM was briefed by the Services chiefs on the overall security situation and the general preparedness of the defence forces. Issues like the changing security situation in Pakistan and the situation along the Sino-Indian border were discussed, official sources said.

The meeting came less than a week after Antony held a similar two-day meeting to review the overall security of the country, especially coastal security, and two days after the PM returned from Kabul after discussing the situation in the region in the aftermath of the Al-Qaida chief’s killing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The situation in the region has undergone a dramatic change in the wake of bin Laden’s killing by the US forces in Abbottabad on May 2. Since the killing, New Delhi has upped the ante against Pakistan, demanding the extradition of fugitives from the Indian law, who have taken refuge in the neighbouring country after committing heinous crimes on the Indian soil. Last week, India released a list of 50 of its most-wanted terrorists which it had given to Islamabad during the Home Secretary-level talks.

The sources were surprised over the statements emanating from Pakistan ever since the Army Chief stated that India had the capability to undertake Abbottabad-type strikes carried out by the American forces to hunt down and kill bin Laden. First, it was Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and now the ISI chief has made threatening noises against India. “What do you expect the Army Chief to say when the media asks him if India could also conduct a US-type operation against terrorists wanted by India who have been provided safe havens across the border,’’ the sources asked.

Referring to the situation along the Sino-Indian border, the sources said New Delhi has been concerned over the increasing Chinese presence in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

The strains in Pakistan-US ties following bin Laden’s killing have led to suggestions that Islamabad’s already close relationship with China would only become stronger now. Islamabad is also said to be keen on ensuring a role for China in Afghanistan once the US-led coalition forces start withdrawing from the embattled nation in July.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousua Raza Gilani is flying to China tomorrow on a visit that will be keenly watched both in New Delhi and Washington.





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