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Taliban threat from AfPak real: Air chief

Karnataka,Indo-Pak/Pakistan,Defence/Security,Terrorism, Sat, 28 Apr 2012 IANS

Bangalore, April 28 (IANS) Increasing Talibanisation of Pakistan and shifting of terror focus from AfPak region would pose a serious security threat to India in the next two years, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said here Saturday.


"If the American troops and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdraw from Afghanistan as planned, 2013-14 are going to be crucial watershed years for India as far as the security of our western border is concerned," Browne hinted.


Noting that the emergence of Pakistani Taliban and Punjabi Taliban would pose a real threat to India, Browne said if the situation in the AfPak region deteriorated after the allied forces withdraw, these (Taliban) elements may shift close to the Wagah border.


"Our fear is that we may have these forces very close to the Wagah border to deal with because the focal point of Al-Qaida and Taliban has dramatically shifted very fast from Afghanistan to AfPak border and North West Frontier Province to the heart of Pakistan," Browne said delivering the sixth Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre Memorial Lecture at the HAL convention centre here.


Referring to the terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed's speech at a seminar in Peshwar last week, the Air Chief said the game-plan of Taliban forces and terror elements in AfPak region was to target Kashmir after "liberating" Kabul from allied forces.


"It is Kabul now we are dealing with. The moment we resolve that, we will take over the next phase to liberate Kashmir from Jammu & Kashmir state," Browne quoted Saeed as saying.


Admitting that unresolved borders with Pakistan and China were a baggage from the past, Browne said as a security concern, the convoluted borders were a point of friction with both the neighbouring countries who also collude in sharing conventional and missile technology to develop nuclear and conventional weapons.


"I can't think of any other model in the world where you are dealing with this kind of situation with two nuclear powered neighbouring countries having border issues with us as a common cause for point of friction," Browne told a gathering of about 500 members from the aeronautical community and air force families.


The Air Force Association (Karnataka branch) organises every year the Lakshman Madhav Katre Memorial Lecture in memory of the former air chief (1984-85) who was also chairman of the defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in 1983.


HAL chairman R.K. Tyagi and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) director P.S. Krishnan also spoke on the occasion.


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