Washington, Dec 1: By declaring that it is going to withdraw its troops from the Afghan border, Pakistan is trying to put pressure on Washington to persuade India not to mobilise its Army. "This is high politics. The Pakistan Army knows the US cares that it remains engaged in the war against terror, so by declaring that it is going to withdraw, it is trying to put pressure on Washington to persuade New Delhi not to mobilise its troops," said Christine Fair, a US expert on South Asia.
Marvin Weinbaum, a former adviser to the US State Department on South Asia who now works for a Washington think-tank, believed that the situation had not yet reached a point where Pakistan could begin withdrawing its troops from the Afghan border.
But Dr Weinbaum agreed with Fair. "It is politics. The Pakistanis are trying to tell the Americans: keep the Indians off our backs. If they get too aggressive, we will reconsider our cooperation in the war against terror," Dawn quoted him, as saying.
The two scholars also ruled out the possibility that India and Pakistan could actually go to a war over the Mumbai terror attacks, but warned the situation is fraught with dangers.
"It would certainly complicate everything, put things on hold, make any negotiations harder," said Terry Pattar, a counter-terrorism associate in the Strategic Advisory Services at Jane's Information Group.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is understood to have urged the Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee not to escalate tensions with Pakistan. She also appealed for calm when she spoke to President Asif Ali Zardari.
Rice has spoken at least twice to each leader since the Mumbai terror attacks began on Wednesday.
Fair, however, warned that if Pakistan were to withdraw troops from the Afghan border, it would put a lot of strain on US-Pakistan relationship.
Dr Weinbaum urged India to work with the Pakistani government to bring pressure on groups like LeT and Jaish-i-Mohammed.