Accessibility links

Breaking News

Britain Calls on Pakistan to Crack Down on Militants

Britain is calling on Pakistan to do more to crack down on Kashmiri militants, in order to ease rising tensions with India.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says military tensions between India and Pakistan have become "very serious," and he is urging restraint on both sides.

However, in an interview on British radio, Mr. Straw made it clear that London and Washington believe Pakistan bears most of the responsibility for defusing the situation.

"What I've been involved in over the Christmas period is intense diplomatic activity, which has been led by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, both to urge restraint, but particularly to urge the Pakistan authorities to take much more effective action against the Kashmiri terrorist groups, which have been operating until recently with impunity in Pakistan, and then making incursions across the border," he explained.

Mr. Straw said Pakistani society has long been ambiguous and complacent about terrorism, both in Afghanistan before September's terrorist attacks in the United States, and in Kashmir.

"There has to be more intensive dialogue among the Pakistani community, in Pakistan and elsewhere," he said, " about the fact, you can't go on turning a blind eye to terrorist activities by simply labeling those terrorists Kashmiri freedom fighters."

Mr. Straw says there is widespread anger in India about this month's terrorist attack on the national parliament in New Delhi.

Mr. Straw noted that Pakistan has frozen the assets of two Kashmiri militant groups blamed for the attack, and has arrested leaders of one organization, but he says more must be done.