- ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI
(Reuters) - Pakistani and Indian forces traded fire across their border
Tuesday as New Delhi brushed off Pakistan's president's pledge that he
would unveil details of a crackdown on Islamic militants within days.
- India said it still saw no shift in Pakistan's stand
despite Pervez Musharraf's statements condemning terrorism, and said it
was still waiting for Islamabad to crack down on militant groups.
- "I don't see any shift in their position on terrorism
as directed against India. I think the time has come for Pakistan to shed
the ambivalence it continues to maintain on such issues,'' Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Nirupama Rao told a news conference.
- "What we expect from Pakistan is concrete, serious,
substantial steps to deal with cross-border terrorism and groups that operate
from Pakistani soil. We have yet to see satisfactory action taken,'' she
- Disputed Kashmir remained at flashpoint.
- Indian officials said two Pakistan-based rebels and an
Indian soldier were killed in an attack on an Indian army camp, and Pakistani
police and officials said the nuclear-armed archrivals exchanged sporadic
small-arms fire across their border.
- Pakistani and Indian forces also traded intermittent
fire late Monday and early Tuesday across their border in the Sialkot area
of Pakistan's Punjab province, witnesses said.
- The border has seen the biggest military buildup in 15
years after the deadly Dec. 13 attack on India's parliament, which New
Delhi says was carried out by Pakistan-based militants, raising fears of
a fourth war between the two rivals since 1947.
- Several civilians and soldiers on both sides have been
killed in daily exchanges of mortar and machinegun fire across the border
and a cease-fire line in Kashmir.
- INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE
- Musharraf, under pressure from the United States and
Britain, said Monday decisions still had to be taken on the crackdown on
militants based in Pakistan and all would be revealed when he addressed
the nation in a few days.
- "Pakistan rejects terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations and has fully cooperated with the international coalition
against terrorism in that spirit,'' Musharraf told a joint news conference
with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who visited both nations on a mission
to defuse tensions.
- India remains opposed to peace talks without a major
shift in Pakistan's attitude, and said there was no room for a mediator.
- "It is for our two countries to deal with such issues.
We really see no room for other countries to be involved,'' Rao said.
- Still, Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani was heading to
Washington Tuesday, to be followed by Defense Minister George Fernandes
next week, to drum up support for India.
- U.S. President George Bush weighed in Monday calling
for a clear pledge from Musharraf to crack down further on the militants
India says are fighting for independence for Muslim-majority Jammu and
Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.
- Visiting Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres met Fernandes
Tuesday, and a defense ministry official said talks covered fighting terrorism
and accelerating military cooperation.
- "They exchanged views on the security situation,
terrorism and defense cooperation,'' the official told Reuters. "Defense
cooperation with Israel is an ongoing thing,'' he said.
- INDIA DEMANDS MORE ACTION
- India wants Pakistan to end its sponsorship of the groups
and wipe them out, and has demanded that 20 militants be handed over.
- But Musharraf said Pakistan, which has already arrested
scores of Islamic militants, including leading members of the two groups
India accuses of being behind the parliament attack, had also suffered
- "We have been a victim of sectarian extremism, sectarian
terrorism,'' Musharraf said. "All that is being addressed and its
final decisions will be given when I come to address the nation in a few
- He did not specifically refer to the roughly one dozen
Pakistan-based Islamic groups in Kashmir whom India considers terrorists
but whom Pakistan has in the past referred to as ''freedom fighters.''