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India keeping all options open, says Army chief

Noting that Pakistan has moved troops towards border with India, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said New Delhi has kept all options open, including the "fighting option" as a last resort. Army presence in Afghanistan can 'squeeze' Pak.

delhi Updated: Jan 15, 2009 00:32 IST
Rahul Singh

Maintaining that military action against Pakistan was still an option, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said on Wednesday that the nuclear-armed neighbour had relocated some of its troops from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan to the Indian border in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

“The Indian Army has factored in the redeployment in its planning if operations have to be undertaken at any stage. There has been tremendous tension after 26/11 as we feel the perpetrators of the attacks came from Pakistani soil. We have all options open but that should not be construed as whipping up war hysteria,” Kapoor said briefing reporters on the eve of Army Day.

He emphasised that military option was the weapon of last resort if diplomatic and economic efforts failed. Kapoor said the government had approved fast-track acquisition of critical equipment and weapon stores after 26/11.

“In some areas we could do with additional equipment. Fast-track procedures are in place to meet immediate requirements. When a crisis is in store, we have to make up for deficiencies that can affect fighting capabilities,” the army chief said, adding that the Indian Army had not acquired a single artillery gun after the Bofors scandal erupted in the late 1980s.

Increasing strategic presence in Afghanistan is

“one of the factors” India may consider to put on

Pakistan, Kapoor said. He, however, made it clear that raising stakes in Afghanistan would have to be a political decision.

On allegations of abuses by the Indian troops in Democratic Republic of Congo, General Kapoor challenged Kinshasa to prove the charges.

Indian troops have faced a barrage of charges including child abuse, sexual exploitation and smuggling gold in Congo. Most charges remain unsubstantiated.