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Indian Diplomat: Military Buildup Aimed at Preventing Attacks - 2001-12-30

The Indian Ambassador to the United States says Indian troops are on the Pakistani border to exercise a diplomatic option not to start a war.

Lalit Mansingh says India is sending Pakistan the same message President Bush sent Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks: Close down the terrorist networks in your country or face the consequences. "The 13th of December we had attack on our parliament one of the most dramatic events for us in our history," the ambassador said. "We summoned the Pakistani High Commissioner the next day and said we expect you to shut down these terrorist groups. Two weeks have passed and we are still waiting to see what action they take."

Mr. Mansingh spoke on the Fox News Sunday television program. Pakistan's ambassador to the United States turned down an invitation to appear. But Pakistani officials say they have detained two nuclear scientists and one industrialist long suspected of ties to terrorist organizations. Ambassador Mansingh says that action was good, but not good enough. "We want to have Pakistan take decisive action to shut down the terrorist groups within that country," he explained. "There are at least three groups that have been named by the United States as foreign terrorist organizations: the Harakat al-Mujahidin, the Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the Lashkar-e-toiba. We know who the leaders are, but we do not have confirmation that any action has been taken."

Mr. Mansingh says India's military build up is not aimed at starting a war, but rather at preventing further attacks. Just as the United States put its armed forces in a state of alert following the September 11 attacks, he says India has put its forces on alert.