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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Papers ponder threat of war
Indian troops are prepared for war in Kashmir
There are worries in both the Indian and Pakistani press about the increase in tension over Kashmir.

There is also a view that the USA could have done more to defuse the situation.

The Delhi Business Standard says in an editorial that India has "gone into aggression mode".

It says Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is putting pressure on the rest of the world to restrain Pakistan and his "war cry against cross-border terrorism has sent alarm bells ringing in world capitals".

But no one knows what the military objectives of a war will be, the paper adds.

Symbolic speech

The Indian Express sees Mr Vajpayee's address as carrying symbolism that has greater significance than his actual speech.


Under the US shield... Musharraf is up to his dirty tricks once again

Indian Express

The message to Pakistan and its allies is that "India is prepared to face any challenge to its security," it says.

The paper suggests that the US' influence has failed to work on Pakistan and instead, "the country has witnessed a rise in terrorist activities such as the killing of Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone on Tuesday".

Given this backdrop, Mr Vajpayee's message that "nobody should think that the threshold of our tolerance has no limit" should hit home - both in Islamabad and in Washington.

Another article in the Indian Express also attacks the United States, which "was quick to urge 'restraint' on India immediately after the attack on Parliament on December 13 last year".

"Today, Delhi wants to send an unambiguous message to Washington," the writer says.

"We listened to you six months ago at our own peril."

"Under your shield, and taking advantage of your benign neglect, General Musharraf is up to his dirty tricks once again," the paper adds.

"The truth is that India has no choice but to act in a manner that will bring home the consequences of his actions to General Musharraf," it says.

It adds that the US "must demonstrate that President Bush was serious about waging a crusade against terrorism across the world," and bring peace to Kashmir.


The US continues to egg India on by publicly sympathising with it

Pakistani paper, The News

"But Pakistan does not want peace... in Kashmir" claims India's Rashtriya Sahara.

Assassination

And that is why Mr Lone - "who was aware of the value of democracy" - was murdered as "part of a well-planned strategy by Pakistan".

"It is not surprising that a person who can speak out so frankly will be regarded by the Pakistani regime as its enemy," it says.

The Times of India sees Mr Lone's "brutal assassination" as a "desperate attempt by the militants to keep the Kashmir pot boiling".

"That they targeted the softest face of the Kashmiri struggle is proof indeed that today the constituency for peace is growing in Jammu and Kashmir," the paper says.

The paper says Mr Lone paid with his life for insisting that Islam was not an issue in the Kashmiri movement.

"For the moment, who killed Lone is not as important as why he was killed".

The paper says the "dastardly mission" was carried out with the single aim of derailing the peace process in Kashmir.


Bullying will not work because Pakistan is quite capable of defending itself

Pakistani newspaper, Dawn

"In the short term, though, the militants can only be defeated by an Indian government that acts with purpose to end the alienation of the Kashmiris," The Times of India says.

Pakistan's The News says the United States will be held accountable should a war break out in the subcontinent.

"Instead of helping Pakistan by easing the border tensions and convincing India to support its anti-terrorism efforts, the US continues to egg India on by publicly sympathising with it and without putting the events in perspective," the paper says.

"What New Delhi is deliberately ignoring is that it needs to de-escalate tensions not because of any external pressure but because elementary common sense dictates that doing so is in the interest of over one billion people of the subcontinent.

"It is difficult to see sanity prevailing in the jingoism whipped up by the Indian government and the media, with the opposition also falling in line.

"That is why a firm and fair US intercession is needed to avert disaster."

Dawn urges dialogue instead of "the usual sabre-rattling by Indian armed forces along Pakistan's border".

According to the paper, "bullying will not work" because Pakistan is quite capable of defending itself.

It believes however that a war between the two nuclear rivals would be a disaster for both.

Instead India should "talk to Pakistan and to the representatives of the people of Kashmir with a view to finding a peaceful solution."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

23 May 02 | South Asia
23 May 02 | South Asia
23 May 02 | South Asia
23 May 02 | South Asia
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