OTHERS

Pak. moves more troops along Indian border

NEW DELHI, NOV. 1. India today claimed that Pakistan had moved additional troops to areas facing Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir and Ganganagar in the Rajasthan sectors.

Defence Ministry sources here said that from earlier this week, Pakistan had been moving some reserve troops and armoured formations facing the Indian border in these sectors. The extra build-up amounts to two infantry divisions and a large armoured brigade in the Chenab-Jhelum corridor facing Akhnoor.

Pakistan has also moved an additional armoured division and two independent armoured brigades in Bhawalpur facing Ganganagar district in Rajasthan. Both movements have mechanised and support columns.

The Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries are said to have discussed the issue at their weekly tele-conference. Pakistan has said that these were ``routine exercises'' which take place around this time every year. However, officials here say that these high-level troop movements include strike elements such as armoured, mechanised and air formations and other combat arms. An exercise like this could be converted into an assault in no time. The Pakistan army has been put on a state of high alert and the leave of all combatants and officers have been cancelled. Personnel had even been pulled out of specialised courses, they added.

Analysts say the Akhnoor area is Pakistan's best hope of cutting off Jammu from Kashmir. The Jammu-Poonch road goes via Akhnoor and even the Jammu-Pathankot axis will be threatened. India has fought fierce battles in 1965 and 1971 in these areas, which analysts say, is difficult to hold.

In view of the threat perception, the Army has taken preventive steps to forestall any assault. Officials sources say a build-up of similar scale had taken place during the Kargil war two years ago.

Maintaining that the Pak. build-up looked suspicious, Defence Ministry officials said Islamabad had been told that India had not moved any army reserve divisions from central or eastern theatre into Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan had alleged a week ago that India was beefing up its forces along the J & K border.

`No Govt.-Army discord'

India has denied Pakistan's allegations of ``disparity and disconnect'' between the Government and the Army.

Official sources said the Government and the Army were in harmony over the approach to tackle cross-border terrorism. There was nothing new in what the Army Commander had said while addressing a seminar in Jammu. In fact, he had only echoed the observations of the Defence Minister and the Prime Minister on Wednesday in Somnath. Defence Ministry officials said the ``complete message'' sent to the ``Pakistan Army opposite Northern Command'' by Lt. Gen. R. K. Nanavatty was as follows: ``We are committed to restraint along the line of control and the international boundary in J & K. If, however, the Pakistan Army or terrorists assisted by the Pakistan Army, continue to carry out hostile acts to include sabotage, infiltration, raids or intrusions in violation of the Shimla agreement, we reserve the right to take military action against Pakistani military and/or terrorist targets as deemed appropriate.''

Islamabad, unfortunately, detected a dichotomy in approach towards J & K on the basis of initial reports of Gen. Nanavatty's address which had omitted a couple of critical qualifying clauses, said officials.

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