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India Denies Escalating Tensions With Pakistan


India has denied escalating tensions with its neighbor as Pakistan called on New Delhi to resume a dialogue and pull back its troops along the border. Tensions have been deepening between the South Asian neighbors since last month's terror attacks in Mumbai which New Delhi says were mounted by Islamic extremists based in Pakistan.

Hours after Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked India to deactivate its air bases and relocate its forces to peacetime positions, his Indian counterpart shrugged aside the comment.

Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee says New Delhi has not taken any steps to escalate military tensions with its neighbor since the terror attacks in Mumbai.

"We have not done anything which can escalate the tension between India and Pakistan because from day one I am saying this is not an India-Pakistan issue," he said. "This is an attack perpetrated by elements emanating from the land of Pakistan, and Pakistan government should take action. We have not escalated the tensions, so where is the question of de-escalation."

India denies that it has moved its troops to the border with Pakistan, and says any military movements in recent weeks are part of "routine winter exercises." On the weekend, Pakistani officials said they had redeployed some troops from the Afghan border to the Indian border, sharply raising tensions between the neighbors.

New Delhi says talk of a military build up along the border is an effort to divert attention from demands by India and other countries that Pakistan must clamp down on Islamic militant groups blamed for the terror strikes which killed more than 170 people in Mumbai.

Indian foreign minister Mukherjee reiterated demands that Islamabad act against Islamic extremist groups which carry out terror attacks in India. "Yes we will give you evidences as we have earlier given you, but please act on it," he said.

Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says Islamabad will cooperate with India if it is given evidence that gunmen who mounted the attacks in Mumbai came from Pakistan.

The Pakistani minister called for calm in the region. He says dialogue is in the interest of both countries and they should sit across the table to resolve their differences.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated in the last month, and India has suspended a peace dialogue between the two countries.

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