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India's Defense Minister Rules Out War with Pakistan


Seeking to dampen persistent media speculation a retaliatory strike is in the works against Pakistan, India's defense minister is declaring no military action is being planned. But he warns Islamabad to act against terrorists on its soil, if it wants normal relations with India.

A.K. Antony says war is not an option, as a response to the terror attack on Mumbai.

Antony spoke to reporters in the capital who asked him about troop deployments on the border and reported preparations for military action with Pakistan, against whom India has gone to war three times in 60 years.

"We are not planning any military action," he said.

The defense minister is also denying India plans to end the five-year ceasefire, along the military control line that marks the disputed India-Pakistan boundary in the former princely state, Jammu and Kashmir.

The gunmen who laid siege to Mumbai have been linked to the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has led a violent struggle against Indian rule in Kashmir.

Antony says Pakistan must act against those responsible for the Mumbai attack and root out terrorists operating on its soil.

"Unless Pakistan shows sincerity, whatever they are saying, through their actions, one thing is sure - that there is no question of things as usual," he said.

Antony made his remarks to reporters following a ceremony to mark the 37th anniversary of India's military victory over Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, speaking to the national assembly in Islamabad Monday, said the country's armed forces are "fully prepared and alert."

Gilani says Pakistan does not want war, but, if aggression is imposed on the country, it will defend itself.

Amid the current tension following the Mumbai attacks, the United States and other countries have shuttled top government and military officials between India and Pakistan, hoping to persuade them to avoid military confrontation.

Last month's 60-hour attack on Mumbai by ten radical Islamic gunmen left more than 170 people dead and injured nearly 300 others.

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