| GEO World|
| India prepared for strike on Pakistan: US media|
| Updated at: 1451 PST, Monday, December 15, 2008|
WASHINGTON; The United States believes that India's air force began preliminary preparations for a possible attack against Pakistan in the immediate aftermath of the recent massacre in Mumbai, a US news channel reported on Monday.
Three Pentagon officials individually confirmed that the United States had information indicating that India began to prepare air force personnel for a possible mission.
The officials offered very few details, but one said India's air force "went on alert." This is the first publicly known indication that perhaps the two nuclear powers were closer to conflict in the days after the Mumbai attacks than previously acknowledged.
A second official said the United States concluded these preliminary preparations would have put India quickly in the position to launch airstrikes against suspected terrorist camps and targets inside Pakistan. During these preparations, a number of senior U.S. officials were urging India to exercise restraint -- which apparently it did.
Until now, the Bush Administration has publicly said it saw no signs of military movement by India and no indication that the Indian government was preparing any type of retaliation.
The Pentagon officials broadly described the activity as checking on the status of crews, fighter jets and weapons that were available. The extent of the reported preparation was not immediately known.
Also, one of the Pentagon officials confirmed that the United States has intelligence indicating a single Indian aircraft violated Pakistani airspace twice on Saturday. The United States believes the incursion was inadvertent, the official said, adding that there is no information to indicate it was planned.