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Monday, 17 December, 2001, 12:36 GMT
India weighs up attack response
Indian police commandos outside parliament building
India has warned its patience is running out
India's cabinet committee on security has met to review the investigation on last week's bloody attack on parliament.

The government says it is considering all options which is being seen to include punitive strikes on alleged militant training camps in Pakistan.


Anyone who challenges our security will have to face the consequences

Indian Home Minister LK Advani
Islamabad has responded by saying it would react strongly if attacked and has asked to be included in the investigation.

Delhi says Kashmir militants based in Pakistan carried out the attack which led to the deaths of 13 people and have made several arrests in that connection.

Indian police have accused the Pakistani intelligence service of plotting the attack and have suggested that Pakistan's military government was aware of its planning.

US response

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday that India had the right to defend itself but urged Delhi to be cautious.

"I think we have to be very careful in this instance because if, in the exercise of that right of self-defence, we have states going after each other, we could create a much more difficult situation, a situation that could spiral out of control," he said.


While a strike across the border can lift the national ego, the disadvantages outweigh its benefits

Retired Admiral JG Nadkarni
The view was echoed by Indian newspaper editorials on Monday.

" India can send its forces into (Pakistan-administered Kashmir). But can it afford to start a war whose consequences it cannot foresee, much less control?" The Times of India said.

Military analysts say that an Indian attack across the Line of Control - which separates the two armies in the disputed region of Kashmir - would not lead to substantial gains.

"Even if [militant training camps] are destroyed, the problem of terrorism will not go away... while a strike across the border can lift the national ego, the disadvantages outweigh its benefits," a former Indian navy chief, Admiral JG Nadkarni, said.

Another ex-military chief, General VP Malik - who led India during its conflict with Pakistan in Kargil - also said it "may not be wise" to attack targets in Pakistan.

Indian protesters outside the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi
Indian protesters demand a tougher line with Pakistan
But Indian Home Minister LK Advani refused to rule out military action on Monday.

"Anyone who challenges our security will have to face the consequences," he said.

And he told a television news channel: "The government is considering all options."

The government is under pressure from internal groups which accuse it of taking a soft approach toward Pakistan.

Suspect

The Indian Government says the attack on parliament was the combined work of two Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Pakistan has said it will only act against these groups if they were given firm evidence of their involvement.

On Sunday, Indian police charged a suspected Kashmiri militant of masterminding the suicide attack along with a Delhi University professor who taught Arabic.

Two more people were detained for questioning on Monday including the owner of the flat where the suspects lived in Delhi.

Twelve people died in the gun battle outside parliament between the security forces and the militants. A 13th man - a security guard - died in hospital on Sunday.

See also:

15 Dec 01 | South Asia
India steps up pressure on Pakistan
15 Dec 01 | South Asia
Suspects held over parliament raid
13 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan leads world condemnation
13 Dec 01 | South Asia
Kashmir groups condemn attack
15 Oct 01 | South Asia
India and Pakistan: Troubled relations
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