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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Suicide raid on Kashmir camp
Indian army soldiers north of Jammu
There have been a wave of attacks this week

Suspected Islamic militants have carried out a suicide raid on a security camp in Indian-administered Kashmir, leaving four dead.

Two Indian soldiers and two militants were killed in the attack in Bandipur, 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of the summer capital, Srinagar.

Hours later, three people were killed when a land mine exploded in a court in the nearby town of Pattan.

The attack comes as India and Pakistan appeared to make conciliatory gestures towards each other in the past few days.

Pakistan's foreign minister told the BBC on Thursday that violence in Kashmir could stop before summer if the two sides held talks.

"If we talk and talk soon, the threat of stepped-up violence in summer won't happen," Mehmood Kasuri told the BBC Hindi Service in an exclusive interview.

Both sides say they are ready to hold peace talks, but India insists a meeting can only take place if violence ends in the disputed region.

Ambush

In Friday's attack, three militants said to belong to the Al-Madina Regiment, stormed into the camp belonging to India's Border Security Force (BSF).

"They started firing randomly and we retaliated," a BSF spokesman told Reuters.

If India wants to reject whatever Pakistan offers, they should set a date and time and we would reach there
Mehmood Kasuri
Pakistan Foreign Minister

"Two of the three militants were killed and the third managed to escape."

Two soldiers were killed in the attack and three others wounded.

In the court room blast, one of those killed, a woman, died on the spot. At least 35 other civilians were injured.

On Thursday night, militants also ambushed an Indian army patrol, killing two soldiers and wounding three others.

In other violence, police say two members of the governing People's Democratic Party were shot dead in Baramullah and in Pampore in separate incidents.

The PDP won landmark elections held in the state last year, defeating the party that had governed Indian Kashmir since independence.

Peace talks

Mr Kasuri told the BBC that Islamabad had always maintained that it would not "allow cross-border terrorism".

Relatives mourn victim of violence in Kashmir on 22 April
At least 25 people were killed on Tuesday

"But if India feels that cross-border terrorism would increase when the snow melts in Kashmir, then there is all the more reason to talk with Pakistan," he said.

A week ago in a public address in Srinagar, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said that dialogue was the only way to bring peace to Kashmir.

The rally was the first in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley by an Indian prime minister in 16 years.

He said India was ready to extend a hand of friendship to Pakistan but later made clear that talks could only take place if Islamabad stopped militants incursions and destroyed "terrorist infrastructure".

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since Independence over Kashmir.

The main separatist alliance in Indian-administered Kashmir has formally ruled out talking to an Indian government envoy who is on a week-long visit to Srinagar.

The Hurriyat Conference wants talks without pre-conditions.




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