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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
India angered by Musharraf 'tirade'
Indian policeman in Kashmir
The current situation has gripped India
India has reacted angrily to remarks by the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, telling Delhi to stop exploiting the current crisis in his country.

A spokeswoman for the Indian foreign ministry said it was most regrettable that Pakistan continued to give voice to an anti-Indian tirade at a time when the focus should be on terrorism.

"The issue is terrorism not India-Pakistan relations," she said.

General Pervez Musharraf
General Musharraf told India to "lay off"
In his nationwide address, President Musharraf complained bitterly that India was seeking to exploit the situation by offering its support to the United States in any attack on Afghanistan.

"India wants to isolate us, move closer to the United States and get us declared a terrorist state. They have offered all their military facilities, all their bases and full logistical support," the president said.

Putting it bluntly he added: "They want to harm our strategic assets and the Kashmir cause... I want to tell them to lay off."

Indian concern

Reacting to the Pakistani leader's comments, the Indian spokeswoman said: "In what he describes to be the most challenging hour in Pakistan's history, a unifocal approach, which is uncalled for, is maintained."

Correspondents say India is now watching the unfolding relationship between its long-time foe, Pakistan, and the United States with considerable anxiety,

Delhi is concerned that if Islamabad takes a pivotal support role in action against Afghanistan, little will be done to tackle what India says is Pakistani backing for Kashmiri militants.

The Kashmir dispute lies at the heart of differences between the two neighbours, with a recent summit ending with little signs of progress.

India also sent a representative to a meeting last week of the Afghan opposition and its regional backers in the Tajikistan capital, Dushanbe.

See also:

20 Sep 01 | South Asia
Indian Muslims oppose US action
19 Sep 01 | Media reports
Text: Musharraf rallies Pakistan
19 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan warns of 'destruction'
17 Sep 01 | South Asia
On edge: Afghanistan's neighbours
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's tough choice
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