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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 16:17 GMT
India rebuffs evidence request
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
Mr Vajpayee will not talk to the Pakistani president
India has rejected suggestions that it show Islamabad evidence that Pakistani-backed militants carried out the attack on the Indian parliament last week.


The question of talking to Pakistan given its attitude and unresponsiveness... really doesn't arise

Indian foreign ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao
A spokeswoman for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said Delhi was only prepared to share the evidence with what she called friendly countries.

Spokeswoman Nirupama Rao also ruled out any prospect of the leaders of the two countries meeting next month at a regional summit of South Asian countries.

The statement came amid reports that India has carried out further large-scale troop deployments near its border with Pakistan, which Delhi says are routine manoeuvres.

The BBC's Alastair Lawson said the refusal to share evidence with Pakistan is also a rebuff to the US, which has sought to defuse the rising tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries.

No meeting

The suicide attack on India's parliament last week, in which 14 people died, damaged further the already strained relationship between the two countries.

India blamed two Pakistan-based Kashmir separatist groups, Lashkar-e Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, which it alleged were backed by Pakistani intelligence.

Delhi demanded that Islamabad shut the groups down and has already rejected a Pakistani offer to conduct a joint investigation into the attack.

Indian soldiers patrol the Line of Control
India says its troop deployments are routine

Pakistan has angrily denied any involvement in the gun battle at the parliamentary complex.

Washington called on India to share any evidence that Pakistan-based militants were behind the attack .

But Ms Rao said it would only discuss the matter with friendly nations and had already done so with the United States, Britain, Germany and France.

She also said that there could be no meeting between Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

"The question of talking to Pakistan given its attitude and unresponsiveness in taking action against terrorist groups operating from its soil against India really doesn't arise," Mrs Rao was quoted as saying.

The two leaders could have held talks next month at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

Ms Rao said Mr Vajpayee would still be going to Nepal, but would only discuss issues related to the regional grouping.

'Fraught with danger'

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said the current tensions with India over Kashmir were fraught with danger.

Mr Sattar added that any incursion by India across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir could lead the countries into war.

Indian soldier runs for cover during parliament attack
Pakistan denies all involvement in the Indian parliament attack
Meanwhile, Indian army vehicles were seen on the move in Rajasthan state, which shares a 1,000 km-long border with Pakistan.

The local authorities in the city of Jodhpur conducted a blackout exercise overnight - which they said was part of civil defence training.

There were similar reports of Indian troop movements in Punjab state on Wednesday.

The Indian Defence Ministry has played down speculation about the troop movements, describing them as routine.

But the spokesman said that Pakistan's deployments near the border were not usual.

India had earlier said that troops deployed in the state of Punjab along its border with Pakistan was "a precautionary defensive response to similar troop movements by the Pakistan army".

Pakistan denied any such actions.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
VK Malhotra, BJP spokesman
"The Pakistan hand is so clear"
See also:

20 Dec 01 | South Asia
Indian troop movements 'routine'
15 Dec 01 | South Asia
India steps up pressure on Pakistan
15 Dec 01 | South Asia
Suspects held over parliament raid
13 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan leads world condemnation
13 Dec 01 | South Asia
Kashmir groups condemn attack
18 Dec 01 | South Asia
India facing tough choices
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