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Thursday, March 19, 2009

US tells India to pull back troops

Thu, 19 Mar 2009 19:21:38 GMT | PressTV

Soldiers of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) patrol along the border with Pakistan
India comes under unexpected pressure from the US and has been told to pull back troops from its troubled border with Pakistan.

Senior US officials told Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon on Thursday that India should pull its troops back to peace positions, the Hindustan Times reported.

An outraged New Delhi said the deployment of troops by Pakistan along the border had been the initial cause for concern in the Indian armed forces.

The troops were deployed after ten militants, allegedly belonging to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), attacked several areas across the Indian city of Mumbai last year. More than 170 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured in the incident.

In response, Islamabad redeployed military troops on its eastern border with India which gave rise to speculation about the possibility of a conflict between two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Pakistan has also moved thousands of its soldiers 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.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that New Delhi still believes the terrorists responsible for the Mumbai terror strikes had used Pakistani soil and infrastructure.

Since the division of the subcontinent in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of which were over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

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