Indian War Planes Begin
Pakistan Border Exercises


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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