November 22, 2002

Indian Army Cancels Leave for Soldiers on Pakistan Border

The Indian army Monday cancelled all leave for soldiers stationed along the country's western border with Pakistan and even asked some of those on holiday to report back to work.

"There is no question of issuing any leave to soldiers at a time like this when there is phenomenal troop mobilisation on the Pakistani side of our shared border," said a senior army commander who did not want to be named.

"It is true that we have asked some soldiers on holiday to drop everything and rejoin their units in India's western sector," he added.

Indian forces on the border with Pakistan have been on "high alert" since the December 13 attack on the Indian parliament by five gunmen, whom New Delhi claims were Pakistan-based militants backed by Pakistani military intelligence.

Thousands of tanks and soldiers have massed in the towns of Ganaganagar, Anupnagar and Jaisalmer in India's western border state of Rajasthan.

Gurudev Singh, divisional manager at state-run Indian Railways, told AFP that the Jodhpur-Delhi intercity train had stopped normal operations and was being commandeered exclusively for troop movements.

"Leave for all railway employees has been cancelled in Rajasthan. Our hands are full with organising local and long-distance trains for army personnel to travel up to the border," said Singh.

"The army crawls on its stomach so naturally food, rations and supplies are also being transported in large quantities," he added.

Last Wednesday, authorities in Jodhpur conducted a "mock blackout" exercise, cutting off electricity in the entire city and reviewing the response of the emergency services.

There were reports that Indian army chief General S. Padmanabhan would visit Rajasthan and travel to key border posts on Tuesday to evaluate the situation.

India has said it is keeping all options open in considering how to respond to last week's attack on parliament.

Harliners have been calling for strikes against alleged terrorist training camps in Pakistani territory.

Islamabad has denied any involvement by its intelligence services in the attack and warned of "grave consequences" if India undertakes any cross-border operation.

(China Daily December 25, 2001)

In This Series


Web Link

Copyright © 2001 China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688