rediff.com
rediff.com
News
      HOME | NEWS | THE ATTACK ON PARLIAMENT | REPORT
December 20, 2001
0550 IST

NEWSLINKS
US EDITION
SOUTH ASIA
COLUMNISTS
DIARY
SPECIALS
INTERVIEWS
CAPITAL BUZZ
REDIFF POLL
THE STATES
ELECTIONS
ARCHIVES
US ARCHIVES
SEARCH REDIFF



 Earn From
 Insurance


 Click Here to get
 minimum
 guaranteed 6%*
 returns on your
 premiums


  Call India
   Holiday Special
   Direct Service

  Save upto 60% over
    AT&T, MCI
  Rates 29.9/min
   Select Cities



   Prepaid Cards

  Delhi 19.9/min
  Chennai 26/min
  Other Cities



 India Abroad
Weekly Newspaper

  In-depth news

  Community Focus

  16 Page Magazine
For 4 free issues
Click here!

 Search the Internet
         Tips
E-Mail this report to a friend
Print this page Best Printed on HP Laserjets

India, Pakistan dangerously close to the brink

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi's offer to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad is being seen by observers as further evidence that the South Asian neighbours are dangerously close to a showdown.

A senior government official recalled that during the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between India and Pakistan in early 1987, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt had similarly offered his good offices to defuse the situation.

Mubarak's mediation bid was successful, and the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the late President Zia-ul-Haq eased the tension by resorting to cricket diplomacy.

The official pointed out that such well-meaning mediation offers are made only when the two inimical neighbours seem to have exhausted all other options.

The mood in Parliament was sombre with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee telling both Houses on Wednesday that the government was keeping all its options open in the fight against terrorism and its sponsors.

Just a day earlier, he had asserted that Parliament and his government's "narrowly escape" in Thursday's terrorist attack was a clear sign that they were destined to do "something big".

When the prime minister repeated his statement in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, it was greeted with loud applause from the treasury benches.

Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani told the House that "we cannot regard it [the attack on Parliament] as one more terrorist incident". This assertion coupled with Vajpayee's statement that his government was keeping all options open was taken to mean that a war was not ruled out.

Opposition members too extended full support to the government, but criticised the alleged security lapses around Parliament House on December 13.

Meanwhile, an army spokesman said, "The country's security is in safe hands. We will protect the country's unity and integrity with everything we have got." He did not elaborate.

There were other indicators that the two neighbours had aggressive intents. With reports of Pakistani troops massing on the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir and shelling from the other side continuing, Indian forces have been placed on maximum alert. Defence personnel have had their leave cancelled and been recalled immediately.

Army units are taking up positions along the international border and the LoC. Media reports have also suggested that in Rajasthan, military equipment is being transported by the truckload to the border, though this is being described as "an exercise".

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

Back to top

Tell us what you think of this report

ADVERTISEMENT      
NEWS | MONEY | SPORTS | MOVIES | CHAT | CRICKET | SEARCH
ASTROLOGY | CONTESTS | E-CARDS | NEWSLINKS | ROMANCE | WOMEN
SHOPPING | BOOKS | MUSIC | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL| MESSENGER | FEEDBACK