- NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian
war planes have begun exercises along the border with Pakistan where the
armies of both nations have faced off for two months, according to India's
air force chief.
- Operation Trishul, named after a trident carried by the
Hindu god of destruction, is being conducted by the western air command
which along with the army and the navy has been on alert since a December
attack on India's parliament blamed on Pakistan-based guerrilla groups.
- "These exercises are aimed at validating our strengths,
and seeing how we can get better," Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy
told Reuters in New Delhi on Tuesday.
- The border deployment gives the air force an opportunity
for manoeuvres, he said, adding: "We are serious, it is not a show
we are having there."
- India has rejected Pakistani calls for talks to end the
dangerous confrontation, saying forces will return to peacetime positions
only if Islamabad hands over 20 men accused of terrorism and halts the
flow of Islamic militants into India's rebellion-torn territory of Kashmir.
- The two nuclear-armed rivals have been locked in a tense
military standoff since a bloody December 13 attack on India's parliament
which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants fighting its rule in
the disputed Kashmir region.
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