The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Army spoils for action

Chandigarh, Sept. 12: With the unified command meeting under George Fernandes in Srinagar today, defence sources in Nagrota and Udhampur said the Centre had finally begun the process of “eliminating” diplomatic options to force Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism.

Senior army officers are learnt to have briefed the defence minister on areas that could be used as launch pads for pre-emptive surgical strikes on terrorist training camps deep inside Pakistani territory.

“Fernandes’ visit here following (Mushtaq Ahmed) Lone’s murder should be seen in the light of his statement made in May,” a top defence source said over phone from Udhampur. “The defence minister had then publicly stated that there would be no military action against Pakistan till the end of September. We are nearing the middle of the month. While discussions at the unified command meeting cannot be termed as a countdown to war, it can be termed as a step forward. Nothing can be ruled out at the moment.”

It is learnt that today’s meeting discussed ways to not only stop infiltration but also “do something” to send the message that Delhi will no longer take things lying down. While retaliatory action in some pockets along the Line of Control is being seriously considered, it has been decided to relocate more reserve army formationsto Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources said top army officials are putting pressure on the government “to act in a decisive manner that would solve the Kashmir issue once and for ever”. “Today it is Kupwara, tomorrow it will be New Delhi again,” a senior officer warned.

Advani salvo at Pak

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today virtually blamed Pakistan for the surge in militant violence in Jammu and Kashmir. “Pakistan is worried that the election results in Jammu and Kashmir would create a decisive situation before the world community…” he said in Jaipur. “That would go against its design of proxy war against India.”

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