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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Analysis: India firm over Kashmir
Indian troops in Srinagar
Indian troops are in the spotlight in Kashmir
By Frances Harrison in Delhi

The US Secretary of State Colin Powell has arrived in Delhi after visiting Islamabad where he said differences between India and Pakistan must not be resolved through violence.

Mr Powell's visit comes after renewed shelling along the Line of Control dividing the disputed region of Kashmir, in which Pakistan says one civilian was killed and many more injured.

The renewed firing is likely to push the Kashmir issue to the fore of Mr Powell's agenda but it also signals India's frustration over a sense of being marginalised in the campaign against terrorism.

Kashmir shelling

India says it shelled Pakistani positions along the line of control to deter militant infiltrators, whom it says where trying to lay mines on Monday.

Local journalists say the area has seen much heavier artillery duels in the past, in which scores of people have been killed. But the difference this time was that India admitted to initiating the firing.

The Indian army called the shelling 'punitive action' and a part of its new proactive approach towards dealing with what it says is cross border terrorism.

Analysts say India is taking a dual approach to the campaign against terrorism and the situation on the ground in Kashmir.

Diplomatically it has offered its unconditional support to the United States-led action against Afghanistan, as well as efforts to put in place a new regime in that country.

'Patience stretched'

Soon after the 11 September attacks on the United States, India pledged its cooperation including logistical support.

George Fernandes
Indian Defence Minister Fernandes says attacks will continue

And Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh also said India would not do anything to complicate matters for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, despite a warning by the General to India not to exploit his country's current crisis.

But Delhi is also upset that Washington is shying off from any action against Kashmiri militant groups - despite what it says are links between these groups and Osama bin Laden.

Following an attack on the Srinagar assembly on 1 October in which 38 people died, Mr Vajpayee wrote to President Bush saying India did not want to create problems in the campaign against Afghanistan but that Pakistan should understand there was a "limit to India's patience".

Hours before Mr Powell landed in Delhi, the new Indian Defence Minister, George Fernandes, warned that India would be ruthless and would stop at nothing in facing the enemy.

Military analyst Major General VK Raghavan told the BBC that India's latest military action in Kashmir was a symbolic message aimed at Pakistan and the US.

"[Monday's] firing was aimed at Pakistani posts that were aiding the militants to infiltrate into India," he said.

"Our message to Colin Powell is that you want us to maintain peace [in the region] but Pakistan is still stirring up trouble in Kashmir."

All this raises the temperature between India and Pakistan, at a time when Colin Powell is visiting, making his job more difficult.

It is likely then that the Kashmir issue will dominate discussions between the United States and India to a degree it might not have done before.

Mr Powell will find himself having to placate an Indian Government which is increasingly worried that the United States is not listening to its concerns about what it says is Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism.

See also:

16 Oct 01 | South Asia
US jets hammer Kabul
15 Oct 01 | South Asia
Fighting erupts in Kashmir
14 Oct 01 | South Asia
Anti-US protests erupt in Pakistan
23 May 01 | South Asia
Q & A: Kashmir dispute
15 Oct 01 | South Asia
India and Pakistan: Troubled relations
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