India may launch airstrikes if Pak doesn’t act: McCain

via published on December 7, 2008

Islamabad: US Senator John McCain has said
he believes that if Pakistan does not act against individuals
and groups linked to the Mumbai terror attacks, it could be a
“matter of days” before India carries out surgical strikes
against such elements.

Intelligence officers in the planning and
execution of the Mumbai attacks and terrorist training camps
are still operational in Pakistan, McCain told a small group
of senior Pakistani journalists at an informal lunch in Lahore

Ejaz Haider, a senior editor with a Pakistani daily, quoted McCain as saying that he believed it could be a
“matter of days” before India carried out surgical air strikes
if Pakistan did not act on the evidence provided to it on
elements linked to the attacks.

McCain also said that the terrorist training camps
were being emptied “as we speak”, Haider told a News

Referring to the terror training camps as “red dots on
the map”, McCain indicated that their number had increased
since the time the US launched its campaign in Afghanistan in
the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

McCain, who unsuccessfully contested the US
presidential election, arrived in Pakistan with two other
senior senators on Friday after a brief visit to India.
Referring to his meeting with Prime Minister

Singh, McCain said the Indian leader, who is not easily
ruffled, had appeared visibly angry.

In a report in the Daily Times, Haider wrote McCain
had said that if “Pakistan does not act, and act fast, to
arrest the involved people, India will be left with no option
but to conduct aerial operations against select targets in

McCain said this is what he and the other Senators
were told by Manmohan Singh, who, as McCain put it, was
“reeling from the shock” of the attacks.

“The democratic government of India is under pressure
and it will be a matter of days after they have given the
evidence to Pakistan to use the option of force if Islamabad
fails to act against the terrorists,” McCain said.

Asked what the US would do if India carries out such a
threat, McCain said Washington will not be able to do much.
However, he said “privately I will try to dissuade India from
doing so”.

“We were angry after 9/11. This is India’s 9/11. We
cannot tell India not to act when that is what we did, asking
the Taliban to hand over Osama Bin Laden to avoid a war and
waging one when they refused to do so,” he said.

McCain conceded that such an Indian attack could beget
retaliation from Pakistan and this was precisely the
“trajectory of actions and reactions that those who attacked
Mumbai were hoping for”.

He stressed that if Pakistan does not do anything at
this point to find and arrest the “bad guys”, India will have
no option but to use force.

The US Senate delegation later travelled to Islamabad,
where they met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other top leaders.

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