India Ready for ‘Any Eventuality’ with Pakistan, Premier Says
NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ India will be prepared for ″any eventuality″ with Pakistan if border tensions between the two nations escalate, Prime Minister V.P. Singh warned Saturday.
Pakistan has deployed radars and armored regiments close to the Indian border and is readying its airfields for war, Singh told reporters.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947. Relations between the two south Asian neighbors have become increasingly strained in recent weeks over the northern region of Kashmir along their border.
Pakistan had already ″sounded a red alert, which is the last word″ on war preparations, Singh said.
In Islamabad, a Pakistani Foreign Ministry official labeled Singh’s allegations as a ″figment of (his) imagination.″
Singh’s statements proved that India was trying to provoke a war, said the official, who by practice cannot be named.
In India’s far north Moslem militants on Saturday freed a former member of the state legislature a day after he was abducted, the United News of India reported.
Amirullah Khan, 75, was abducted from his home in Shopian near Srinagar, 425 miles northeast of New Delhi. Khan is a member of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress Party.
Khan was set free because of ″mounting pressure″ by security forces, the news agency said without elaborating.
Violence mounted in northern Jammu-Kashmir state, the center of the tensions between India and Pakistan, as a grenade thrown by militants exploded near an army truck, wounding three soldiers, police said.
A round-the-clock curfew entered its eighth day in Srinagar, the capital of Jammu-Kashmir, as police arrested 100 people in their search for the killers of three kidnapping victims.
Prominent industrialist L.M. Khera and Kashmir University Vice Chancellor Mushir Ul-haq and his secretary were found shot to death last week. Moslem separatists had demanded the release of three rebels in exchange for the men, but the government refused.
In the past week, police have detained more than 1,000 people in their search, security officials said.
Kashmir is disputed by India and Pakistan, and two of their three wars were focused on the region, now divided by a cease-fire line monitored by the United Nations.
Moslem separatists in Kashmir say they want an independent country, attached neither to Moslem Pakistan or India, whose population is 82 percent Hindu.
At least 270 people have been killed since the government launched a crackdown on Moslem separatists in the Kashmir valley in January.
Crowds filled the streets in villages in Kashmir Saturday, shouting anti- Indian slogans, and security forces were rushed in. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Army vehicles went door-to-door in Srinagar, the center of the separatist campaign, offering food to residents who have been forced to stay indoors since April 7, the day after the kidnappings occurred. But residents in several sections of the city refused the food, shouting anti-government slogans and calling for Kashmir independence.
Jammu-Kashmir is the only state in India with a Moslem majority.