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India, Pakistan Exchange Fire Across Kashmiri Border


Lawmakers in India condemned Pakistan on Friday and accused it of being behind a series of terrorist attacks, but the government stopped short of threatening to attack its nuclear-armed rival. Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistanti troops have exchanged heavy fire across the border in Jammu and Kashmir state, and a bomb explosion in the Kashmiri capital Srinagar has killed one person.

At the end of a daylong debate on the latest violence in Kashmir, lawmakers from across the political spectrum in the lower house of Parliament unanimously passed a resolution accusing Pakistan of encouraging "continuing acts of terrorism in India" and vowing to do whatever it takes to stop militant attacks in Indian territory.

India has blamed Pakistan for a suicide assault on an army camp near Jammu that killed several women and children on Tuesday.

The government had been expected to outline its response to the attack. But at the end of the debate, Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani merely said the "government will certainly do its duty." He did not outline any specific strategy, saying the government will consult all opposition groups before deciding its response to Tuesday's assault.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in Tuesday's attack.

Opposition parties said they will support the government in whatever action it decides to take to end militant violence. But led by Opposition Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi, several lawmakers attacked the government for failing to curb violence in Kashmir

"We would like to hear from the government what strategy or plan they have to protect the state of Jammu and Kashmir from such brutalities. The steps taken so far by the government have not proved to be effective," Ms. Gandhi said.

Several lawmakers, both from the ruling Bharatiya Janata party and opposition groups demanded military action against Pakistan.

As the debate took place in New Delhi, violence continued in Kashmir. A bomb exploded outside the fire department headquarters in the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar, killing one person and injuring a dozen others.

Cross-border firing was also reported along the the tense Jammu and Kashmir border.

The exchanges were some of the heaviest since both countries mobilized troops along their borders in December. Indian officials said several civilians were injured in the firing. Hundreds of villagers living along the border have fled.

The military standoff between India and Pakistan is now in its fifth month. Tuesday's attack has intensified the tensions and raised fears of an armed conflict between the South Asian rivals.

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