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India Waiting for Action on Pakistan's Promise to Crack Down on Terrorists

India has given a cautious welcome to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's promise to crack down on terrorist groups, saying it will wait to see how Islamabad's intention to curb terrorist activity translates into action. India says it will be willing to resume a dialogue with Pakistan to ease tensions, once it sees a lowering of militant violence in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh says India welcomes the commitment of Pakistan not to permit the use of its territory for terrorism against India and the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. He says he hopes this will help put an end to what New Delhi calls cross-border terrorism.

"We would assess the effectiveness of the commitment only by concrete action taken," said the foreign minister. "Consequently, we would expect Pakistan to cooperate with India in stopping all infiltration across the international border and the line of control."

Mr. Singh says India will be prepared to resume a dialogue with Pakistan, as urged by Western countries, once there is a reduction of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. He says of Pakistan: "Let it first walk the talk."

The Indian foreign minister welcomed the Pakistani president's decision to ban Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, two Islamic separatist groups India blames for attacking its parliament on December 13. The attack triggered a huge military build-up along the India-Pakistan border.

Mr. Singh says India is willing to give Pakistan time to implement its promise to halt terrorist activity, but that India wants to see results.

"The lessening of tensions on the border is entirely dependent on the steps that are taken inside Pakistan to operationalize what has been stated by his excellency, General Pervez Musharraf," said Mr. Singh. "We have to go, not by the stated intent, but by action on the ground."

Mr. Singh has also rejected the Pakistani president's call for international mediation to settle the dispute over Kashmir, reiterating India's stand that it is a bilateral dispute to be settled through talks directly between India and Pakistan.

Mr. Singh expressed disappointment at Pakistan's refusal to hand over 20 suspected terrorists and criminals whose extradition New Delhi has requested. He said New Delhi will continue to pursue its demands with Islamabad.

Western countries have praised Pakistani President Musharraf's speech, and say it provides the basis for resolving tensions with India through diplomatic means.