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Pakistan-India Tensions Increase - 2001-12-26


India says Pakistan is not going far enough to address concerns on terrorism. India has deployed missiles along its border with Pakistan as tensions remain high. Meanwhile, an Indian Cabinet committee on security has postponed a decision on diplomatic sanctions against Pakistan.

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh has dismissed as inadequate Islamabad's actions against two Pakistani-based militant groups which allegedly attacked India's parliament.

India has demanded that these two groups -- the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad should be disbanded.

Islamabad has detained Maulana Masood Azhar -- the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad -- and frozen the assets of Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Mr. Singh cast doubt on the effectiveness of these measures, which New Delhi says are meaningless because the militant groups have moved their offices and changed their names.

"I must make clear that the kind of trickery that simply changing names, changing headquarters from one part of Pakistan to another, or to indulge in cosmetic seizure of assets is really to make a mockery of the gravity of the situation and of the enormity of the issues that we confront," said Mr. Singh.

India wants a complete shutdown of the groups, including their training camps. It wants the leaders allegedly involved in the attacks to be handed over to New Delhi.

India's cabinet committee on security was expected to announce diplomatic and economic measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Pakistan. But the decisions have been postponed because Defense Minister George Fernandes is touring frontline troop positions in Kashmir and was not in the capital. The meeting will take place Thursday evening.

New Delhi is contemplating scaling down the Pakistani embassy in New Delhi and withdrawing overflight permission to civilian Pakistani aircraft.

Meanwhile, Mr. Fernandes says India has moved ballistic missiles to the border. They are "in position," he said, calling it a precautionary measure.

India and Pakistan began massing troops and armor along their common borders after New Delhi vowed retaliation following the December 13 attack on its parliament. Thirteen people including five gunmen were killed in the assault.

The government has canceled all military leave as the troop build up continues.

Cross-border clashes have taken place in recent days. Civilians in border areas are reportedly being prepared for possible bomb attacks and blackouts. Both countries say they want peace, but are prepared for war.

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