Pakistan: Indian Troops Moved To Border

By: AP
By: AP

(AP) Pakistan said Tuesday that India had moved troops toward their shared border, following Islamabad's own redeployment of forces toward the frontier amid tensions over the Mumbai attacks.

Indian officials would not comment on the claim, but denied another allegation that they had activated forward air bases.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the claims in a televised address that included overtures toward India to help improve the frayed ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors, who have already fought three wars in the past six decades.

"I understand India has activated their forward air bases, and I think if they are deactivated, then it will be a big positive signal," Qureshi said. "Similarly, as far as their ground forces are concerned and which have been deputed and deployed, if they relocated to their peacetime positions, then it will also be a positive signal."

Qureshi further offered to send a high-level delegation to New Delhi to help investigate the November assault in Mumbai, which killed 164 people.

The foreign minister, who was among several Pakistani leaders who have been calling for calm in the region, reiterated that India had not turned over any evidence backing up its claims that Pakistani militants had staged the Mumbai assault.

However, he noted that Indian officials had said that was because their own investigation was not over.

"And the government of Pakistan wants to assure them that when the evidence will come to us, our thinking from day one was constructive and peaceful and we will do our best to reach the bottom of the matter," Qureshi said.

An Indian military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, denied that key air bases had been activated. "We have not activated any of our forward air bases," he said.

There was no immediate comment by India's defense ministry on the statement that the South Asian giant had moved some troops to forward positions.

Intelligence officials said last week that Pakistan is shifting thousands of troops away from its militant-infested northwest regions bordering Afghanistan and toward India. Witnesses in towns along the Indian border have reported seeing more troops than usual, but there have been no signs of a massive buildup on the Pakistani side.

© MMVIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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