Pakistan has begun moving thousands of troops toward its border with India amid rising tensions with New Delhi over last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Witnesses say troops have been moving eastward from Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, where soldiers have been fighting al-Qaida and Taliban militants.
A senior security official who asked not to be identified said "a limited number of troops" who were not engaged in operations have been pulled out of snowbound areas on the western border.
Earlier, defense officials said the military had canceled leave for members of the armed forces, and put both the army and air force on high alert.Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in New Delhi that Pakistan is trying to "divert attention" away from militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India blames for the Mumbai attacks.India's Foreign Ministry today (Friday) advised Indian citizens that it is "unsafe for them to travel or be in Pakistan" as tensions rise between the two countries.
The ministry linked its warning to the reported but unconfirmed arrests of three Indian citizens in connection to a bombing in Lahore on Wednesday -- news that has been greeted with skepticism by the Indian press.Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed the growing tensions with Pakistan in a meeting with his military chiefs today.
The White House said it hopes "both sides will avoid taking steps that will unnecessarily raise tensions during these already tense times."New Delhi says the militants who laid siege to Mumbai were Pakistanis, trained and equipped by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Islamabad has demanded proof of the gunmen's nationality.
Both New Delhi and Islamabad say they do not want war, but warn they will act if provoked.Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947. They agreed to a cease-fire in 2003.