December 16, 2008 

India prepared for attack on Pakistan: Report

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- India's air force geared up for possible attack on Pakistan 
in the immediate aftermath of the last month's Mumbai attacks, U.S. military 
officials told CNN Monday. 

While the officials characterized the actions as preliminary preparations to 
position the air force if strikes were ordered, the comments indicate that the 
two nuclear powers were perhaps closer to conflict in the days just after the 
Mumbai attacks than previously acknowledged. 

Three Pentagon officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have 
individually confirmed to CNN that the United States has information indicating 
that India began to prepare air force personnel for a possible mission. 

The officials offered very few details, but one said India's air force "went on 

A second official said the United States concluded these preliminary 
preparations would have put India in a position to move swiftly against 
suspected terrorist camps and targets inside Pakistan, before adding that a 
number of senior U.S. officials urged India to exercise restraint during this 

An Indian air force official had no comment for CNN. 

CNN sister network CNN-IBN reported last week that the air force had been put 
on its highest level of readiness and that the aircraft had been armed. 

"We are certainly against terrorism but that doesn't mean that we go at war 
with any country," Indian Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major told CNN-IBN 
Thursday, adding that any decision on military action would be "up to the 
government because the air force and the army are there only to carry out the 
will of the government." 

Air Commodore Homayoon Ziqar, a spokesman for the Pakistan air force, told CNN 
Monday that Pakistan is not on heightened alert at the moment. "Everything is 
normal," he said. Ziqar had no comment when asked if India had prepared for air 
strikes against Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks. 

Another source in Pakistan's military also said the air force is not on 
heightened alert but added, "We are always ready, on weekends, on holidays, no 
matter what the circumstances." 

Until now, the Bush Administration has publicly said it saw no signs of 
military movement by India and no indication that the Indian government was 
preparing any type of retaliation. 

The Pentagon officials broadly described the activity as checking on the status 
of crews, fighter jets and weapons that were available. The extent of the 
reported preparation was not immediately known. 

Also, one of the Pentagon officials confirmed that the United States has 
intelligence indicating a single Indian aircraft violated Pakistani airspace 
twice on Saturday. The United States believes the incursion was inadvertent, 
the official said, adding that there is no information to indicate it was 


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