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India: New Delhi Will Not Attack Militant Camps - 2001-10-19

India says it will not attack what it says are militant training camps in Pakistani administered areas of Kashmir. There has been a sharp increase in tensions between the two nuclear armed rivals in recent weeks.

Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani says Indian security forces will not wait for Kashmiri militants to strike first, but "will go all out for them."

But Mr. Advani says for the moment Indian forces will not go in "hot pursuit" of the militants across the line of control that divides Kashmir. The comment comes after some Indian leaders called for strikes against guerrilla training camps following a suicide attack by Kashmiri militants that killed dozens of people earlier this month.

Since then tensions between the two South Asian neighbors have been high and Indian and Pakistani security forces have been firing at each other along the volatile Kashmir border.

Mr. Advani said India does not oppose Pakistan being drafted as an ally in the international fight against terrorism. But he said the United States must eventually deal with militant groups in Pakistan.

"America and other nations in the international community must ensure that those who are part of the war against terrorism are themselves not guilty of finding a safe haven to terrorists, hijackers and to organizers of terrorist camps," he says.

Mr. Advani blames Pakistan, and its Inter Services Intelligence agency with sponsoring terrorism in India and other parts of the world.

"There is ample intelligence and analytical evidence to show that the Taleban regime in Afghanistan which has provided a safe haven to Osama bin Laden and others of the al Qaida network on its soil, was the creation of the ISI of Pakistan," he says. "The very same ISI has also been the planner, instigator and supporter of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir another parts of India. It is therefore disingenuous for Pakistan to claim to be an ally of the international community in the fight against terrorism," he says.

Pakistan denies India's charge that it aids and arms Islamic militant groups in Kashmir, and says the separatist insurgency in the region is led by indigenous freedom fighters. During a visit to both countries this week, U.S. Secretary of State tried to defuse tensions between the two countries.