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India Accuses Pakistan of Increasing Tensions Over Kashmir - 2002-06-04


Indian officials accuse Pakistan of racheting-up tensions over Kashmir at the summit of regional leaders being held in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The war of words between Indian and Pakistan officials continued Tuesday, with each side accusing the other of moving the region closer to all-out war.

Following Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's speech in Almaty, Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao accused Islamabad of sending the same inflexible message and heightening tensions.

In his speech, President Musharraf said New Delhi was not responding to his invitation to engage in a dialogue over Kashmir. Speaking to the Star television network from Almaty, Nirupama Rao accused General Musharraf of lacking vision. "I think the president of Pakistan's speech is a reflection that will be sensed by all the nations attending the summit," she said, "that it is a reflection of Pakistan's inability to really see beyond its very myopic vision of the situation in our region."

Ms. Rao also said she does not believe General Musharraf's speech will do much to ease tensions in the region.

Over the next week, two senior U.S. officials will try to ease those tensions that have brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

U.S. Deputy of State Richard Armitage, who arrives in Islamabad Thursday and then travels to New Delhi, has said he wants to see action on the ground to indicate Pakistan has stopped separatist militants from infiltrating into Indian Kashmir. Mr. Armitage also said he hopes India can restrain itself and act responsibly.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who will follow Secretary Armitage to the region, said he has deep concerns about the possibility of India and Pakistan letting the crisis spiral out of control into a nuclear war. Mr. Rumsfeld's Pentagon officials recently estimated a nuclear war between India and Pakistan could kill up to 12 million people and injure millions more.

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