U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell leaves Washington Friday on a ten-day trip to South Asia and East Asia starting with quick visits to India and Pakistan. He says he will try to further ease tensions between the South Asian powers, which have subsided following a confrontation over Kashmir in May.
Mr. Powell will try to build on U.S. diplomacy in May and June that may have helped prevent a military conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. In a talk with reporters, Mr. Powell noted there has been a decrease in the infiltration of Muslim militants across the "line-of-control" into Indian Kashmir, but acknowledged that violence in the area has not ceased.
"It is still unfortunately the case that there is violence, there is terrorist violence that takes place," he said. "And in my conversations with the Indians and Pakistanis, I will see if there are any other actions that can be taken that will reduce the level of violence or the potential for violence."
The secretary said he would try to spur dialogue between the two sides over Kashmir. His Asia mission also includes talks in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and in Brunei, where he joins an annual dialogue with ASEAN foreign ministers.