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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
India issues Kashmir warning
Indian troops on the Line of Control
Indian troops on the Line of Control
India says it will continue to shell Pakistani positions across the Line of Control in the disputed territory of Kashmir.


Issues must be resolved through peaceful, political and diplomatic means, not through violence or reliance on force.

Colin Powell
The Indian government warned on Tuesday that it would be "ruthless" in dealing with infiltrators who India says are supported by Pakistan.

The comments were in sharp contrast to an appeal by US Secretary of State Colin Powell for Islamabad and Delhi to resolve their Kashmir differences by peaceful means.

On Monday, India attacked at least 11 Pakistani positions along the Line of Control which separates the two sides in Kashmir, the first serious fighting in nearly a year.

Belligerent

The fighting rumbled on on Tuesday.

It "was heavy in the morning, but has now receded," an Indian military official in the city of Jammu told Reuters news agency.

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes was in belligerent mood when speaking to reporters in Delhi.


"India will be ruthless in dealing with infiltrations and the kind of methods used by [infiltrators], whether it is laying mines or suicide encounters like the one outside the assembly building [in Srinagar]," he said.

Thirty-eight people were killed when militants attacked the Kashmir assembly at the beginning of the month.

Pakistan has denied any infiltration across the Line of Control from Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

"Pakistan will continue to exercise restraint. But if fired upon, it will retaliate and the whole responsibility will be on India," Major-General Rashid Qureshi said.

The fighting is likely to dismay US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who is due to hold talks in Delhi on Tuesday with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee .

After talks in Islamabad with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Mr Powell urged talk, not war, in Kashmir.

"Issues must be resolved through peaceful, political and diplomatic means, not through violence or reliance on force but with a determined respect for human rights," Mr Powell said.

Police in Indian-administered Kashmir say 15 people have been killed and more than 40 injured in separate incidents of violence in the past 24 hours.

'Two dead'

Reports say Mr Powell and General Musharraf did not discuss Monday's fighting on the Line of Control.

Srinagar soldier and Muslim protester
India has been accused of human rights abuses in Kashmir

A Pakistani spokesman initially said one woman had been killed and 25 other civilians wounded in the attacks, but later reports said another person had died on the Pakistan side.

In Delhi, defence officials said Indian troops had killed 11 militants.

The attacks, which broke weeks of relative peace along the border, came shortly before Colin Powell began his trip to Pakistan and India to shore up support for America's war on terrorism.

The support of Pakistan, which neighbours Afghanistan, is considered particularly crucial for US operations.

It has given the US access to its airspace and intelligence, as well as offering some logistical support.

The Indian action comes amid growing signs that Delhi is keen to use the current situation to press home its concerns about militant groups operating in Kashmir.

The territory has been at the centre of two wars between India and Pakistan since 1947.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Frances Harrison
"The defence minister warned that India would be ruthless"
Hardeep Puri, Indian Deputy High Commissioner
"India is looking for a stable Pakistan"
Prem Shankar Jha, Political analyst
says India is worried about Pakistan's involvement with the United States
See also:

03 Oct 01 | South Asia
Kashmir caught in war on terror
11 Oct 01 | South Asia
Tensions rise over Kashmir
09 Oct 01 | South Asia
Pakistan changes direction
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