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Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Musharraf wins Indian praise
Pakistani protesters burn the Indian flag
India has called for an end to the "propaganda war"
India's Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, has praised a speech by Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf condemning religious fantaticism.


We met in the battlefield and now we will meet in the house of peace

Atal Behari Vajpayee
He said General Musharraf's condemnation of the hardliners was "the first step in the direction of friendship".

The leaders of the two rival countries are due to meet in July for their first-ever summit to discuss issues including the disputed region of Kashmir.

On Tuesday General Musharraf told a meeting of clerics to stop issuing "irresponsible statements" which damaged Pakistan's standing in the world.

'Good sign'

"India has always been asking for an end to the propaganda war between the two countries," Mr Vajpayee told journalists on his arrival in Bombay, where he is due to undergo knee surgery.


The world thinks that we are terrorists and responsible for violence around the world

General Pervez Musharraf
Although he said he had still to read General Musharraf's speech in full, it was a "good sign" ahead of their summit.

"We met in the battlefield and now we will meet in the house of peace," he said.

He added that he was ready to discuss all issues with his counterpart, including Kashmir, where militants are waging a campaign against the Indian army.

General Musharraf said in his speech that Pakistan's support for the separatist campaign was only diplomatic.

He condemned religious extremists and those who support jihad or holy war in Kashmir where Pakistani volunteers fight alongside the guerrillas.

"The world thinks that we are terrorists and responsible for violence around the world," he said.

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See also:

05 Jun 01 | South Asia
Musharraf condemns religious hardliners
12 Oct 00 | South Asia
Pakistan: Still out in the cold?
23 Mar 00 | South Asia
Profile: General Pervez Musharraf
13 Mar 01 | South Asia
Gunmen attack Pakistan mosque
05 Apr 01 | South Asia
Thousands mourn in Pakistan
28 Feb 01 | South Asia
Clashes follow Pakistani execution
12 Apr 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's religious rift
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