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India: Cross-Border Terrorism Infrastructure Must Be Dismantled - 2003-03-26

India has accused Pakistan of being involved in recent militant attacks in Indian Kashmir, including the killings of 24 Hindus earlier this week. New Delhi said it will use strength and resolve in dealing with Islamabad. Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said recent terror attacks in Indian Kashmir appear to be the work of Pakistan. "The pattern, methodology and the nature of targets of these acts of terror are all to familiar, and therefore the culpability of Pakistan is all too clear," he said.

In the most recent attack, suspected Islamic militants shot and killed 24 Hindu villagers in Nandi Marg village, about 50 kilometers south of Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar. It was the worst attack in Kashmir in recent months.

There has been a surge of violence in the region in recent weeks, several people have died in at least three other militant attacks.

India's foreign ministry says the infrastructure, support, and sponsorship of cross-border terrorism that exists in the country's neighborhood must be dismantled. It was a reference to Pakistan, which India accuses of sponsoring the Islamic separatist insurgency that erupted in Kashmir in 1989.

India also condemned what foreign ministry spokesperson, Mr. Sarna, called "double-standards" in the international campaign against terrorism.

"The combat against international terrorism is ill-served if threats, in some cases, are met by military means, and in others with calls for restraint and dialogue," Mr. Sarna said.

It was an indirect reference to the United States and other Western countries, which persuaded New Delhi to step back from a potential military conflict with Pakistan last year. The military standoff was triggered by Indian charges that Islamabad sponsors terrorism in India.

Washington has been asking India to open a dialogue with Pakistan to ease their tensions, but New Delhi says it will not hold talks with its neighbor unless it ends support to what India calls "cross-border terrorism."

Pakistan denies Indian charges of supporting and sponsoring Islamic separatist militants, saying infiltration of insurgents from its territory into India has stopped.