India shouldn't underestimate PAKISTAN

deepak pace

Zardari says India shouldn't underestimate Pak

New Delhi: As Islamabad continues to deny any connection to the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said on a local news channel, "India should not underestimate Pakistan's military power because Pakistan is capable of thwarting any aggression from the east."

Endorsing the President's statement Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said, "The military is fully capable of defending Pakistan's territorial integrity. The operational preparedness of the armed forces is at an optimal level.The nation and the army are united to defend the country and its territorial integrity,"

However, India has called all this talk of a war "hysteria", adding that the issue at hand was one of terror acts on India from Pakistan and not of a war between the two countries.

The statement is a direct response to reports that Pakistan is stepping up the war rhetoric.

On December 14, the Pakistan Air Force had complained of IAF violations over Punjab and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. On December 22 Pakistani air force jets scrambled and flew low over Pakistani cities, spreading panic and rumours that an Indian strike was imminent.

Several Pakistani papers carried reports on December 23 quoting officials saying a strike by India on Pakistan was "expected" in the next 24 hours. Army Chief General Kayani had stated that Pakistan was prepared to strike back within minutes of an Indian strike.

However, despite all these signs, former Indian national security advisor, Brajesh Mishra in an interview to Karan Thapar said he doesn't expect a war between India and Pakistan right now. But he stated that the Government could consider a tactical air strike.

"I don't think it is necessary or it is being contemplated that you immediately start an all-out war against Pakistan. I don't think that is on the cards. I honestly can't say what they are planning, but an air strike is one option of course. I don't think this Government will survive another strike unless it goes for immediate military option," Mishra told Karan Thapar