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Indians, Pakistanis Blame Each Other for Deteriorating Conditions - 2001-12-30

The escalating tensions between India and Pakistan were on display when officials of the two countries took part in back to back interviews on American television. Each blamed the other for the deteriorating situation in the region.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister says his country is taking action against extremists who want to harm India. But a top Indian official charges Islamabad is not doing enough.

During an appearance on CNN's Late Edition program, Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar noted Pakistan has frozen the assets of several organizations that India says are responsible for terrorist attacks. He said about 50 people are under detention, though they have yet to be charged. "What we have done" he said, "is to place these people under detention so that they cannot carry out any further activity detrimental to peace. And we have said we will investigate, we need more evidence. And on the basis of that evidence we will take further action under the law."

In a separate interview, Indian Senior Cabinet Minister of Law Arun Jaitley appeared skeptical. He said, "Pakistan has to get serious. The Pakistani government has to accept that all forms of cross border terrorism has to stop. All organizations which have been functioning from Pakistani soil and creating this kind of a situation in India must stop their activities. Action must be taken against them."

A key U.S. Senator listened to the interviews and told CNN that Americans should be gravely concerned about the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham said it is one of the most dangerous situations on the globe. "Two large countries with nuclear capability facing off against each other," he said. "They have gone to war three times since the two nations were formed. They have never gone to war with the capability they have today."

Senator Graham said the international community has not paid enough attention to the long dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. He said an all-out diplomatic effort should be made to resolve that issue. He also said steps should be taken to prevent an accidental nuclear exchange, similar to those the United States and the Soviet Union put in place during the Cold War.