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Friday, May 28, 1999 Published at 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK


Press review: Need for restraint

Newspapers across South Asia call for restraint from both governments as the crisis in Kashmir appears to be escalating.

The International News, of the Jang Group, Pakistan, fears there is real cause for alarm with two nuclear powers squaring up to each other and says there is an urgent need for the utmost restraint.

Kashmir Conflict
It calls on India to abandon its campaign as a first step to easing tensions.

"The confrontation can inadvertently slide into a wider conflict, with potentially devastating ramifications," the paper says.

It says the international community is not reacting to the seriousness of the situation.

"At a time when the world is witnessing international engagement in conflict resolution - from East Timor to Northern Ireland - it is inexplicable why Kashmir has not seen similar mediatory efforts."

"This is the moment for the international community to go beyond perfunctory calls for peace and engage constructively in helping to restore peace and stability," the paper adds.

The Indian Express says the Indian government is going to have to get its act together fast.

The country is not psychologically prepared for escalation of the conflict and the government must prove events are not running ahead of its own planning, it says.

It calls on India to "prepare domestic and world opinion for the steps it may need to take to regain lost ground".

The Times of India asks if the conflict is an elaborate scheme by Pakistan to create tension to internationalise the Kashmir dispute and involve the UN.

India's response must be restrained and firm, it says. And it says the Indian Government must handle its public relations better and chides Delhi for "losing the communication fight with Pakistan".

The Hindu says the Indian army should bring the situation under control, but neither side should abandon talks.

Indian forces must confine their operations to the Indian side of the line of control and prevent even an accidental spillover across the line to avoid any escalation, the paper warns.

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