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Friday, March 20, 2009

India snubs US over troops pull back

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 10:24:56 GMT

India's border soldiers stand guard at the tense Indian-Pakistani border
The Indian government has strongly rejected a call by the United States to pull back armed forces from its troubled border with Pakistan.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon during his recent visit to Washington told the US senior officials that New Delhi wouldn't move its troops back along the border, media reports said Friday.

Also, Indian defense sources said that Islamabad had deployed several army brigades along Indo-Pakistan border in Jehlum-Chenab and Chenab-Ravi corridors.

Pakistan has also deployed more troops along the Line of Control in disputed Kashmir region, according to sources.

Both countries deployed thousands of troops on their borders after ten militants, allegedly belonging to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), attacked several areas across the Indian port city of Mumbai in late November.

At least 179 people, including nine militants, were killed and hundreds of others were injured in the incident.

The troops' deployment gave rise to speculation about the possibility of a conflict between two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Islamabad also moved thousands of its soldiers and paramilitary troops from its border with Afghanistan to the Indian border.

Sources say that the reason behind the recent US demand is that President Barack Obama is gearing up to launch a bigger military offensive against Afghanistan, during which the US will need the help of Pakistani troops along the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of which were over the disputed territory of Kashmir, since their independence from Britain in 1947.

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