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Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 15:19 GMT
India-Pakistan tensions sharpen
Indian troops near Kashmir frontline
Pakistan accuses India of 'massive' troop build up
India says two of its border guards have been killed by Pakistani troops in a clash in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Pakistan, meanwhile, has accused the Indian authorities of kidnapping and torturing one of its diplomatic staff at its high commission in Delhi.

The troops were on a routine patrol

Indian official

The latest incidents come as tension remains high between the two countries following an attack on the Indian parliament which Delhi blames on Pakistani-based militants.

India is insisting Pakistan closes down two militant groups it blames for the attacks.

Sustained shelling

An Indian spokesman said the soldiers were attacked while on patrol about 40 kilometres south-west of the city of Jammu.

"The troops were on a routine patrol along the international border when Pakistan border guards opened fire killing two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel," an official of the BSF told the Reuters news agency.

President Musharraf
Musharraf accuses India of 'arrogance'

He said three other Indian guards were wounded in the attack.

Reports on Sunday spoke of heavy, sustained shelling between Indian and Pakistani troops in the area.

The Indian army has asked some 1,000 villagers to move away to safer areas.

'Severely beaten'

Pakistan has made an official complaint to the Indian Government over the alleged kidnap and torture of a member of its high commission in Delhi.

A Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement said Mohammad Sharif Khan was kidnapped while shopping in Delhi.

"During interrogation, he was stripped naked, severely beaten and tortured, resulting in visible and internal injuries." the statement said.

Mr Khan was released several hours later, after being forced to sign a document saying he had been spying, the statement said.

The police in Delhi deny any Pakistani diplomat had suffered such treatment.

But RS Gupta of the Delhi police told the BBC that a member of the Pakistan high commission had been caught accepting secret documents from and Indian national.

Correspondents say that although such incidents are not uncommon between the two sides, this latest report will only fuel the animosity on both sides of the border.

Guarded optimism

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes is reported as saying that Indian troops are on a very high state of alert.

But he indicated he was optimistic that a serious military conflict would not start between the two countries if Pakistan handed over those responsible for the parliament attack.

Indian villager leaving home
An Indian villager flees for safer places

He also said that India would not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Both countries are reported to have moved troops closer to their common border in recent days.

An Indian Defence Ministry spokesman said on Saturday that it had made minor adjustments to its forces as a "precautionary measure" to counter a Pakistani build-up.

Pakistan, for its part, has expressed deep concern over what it calls reports of "massive" Indian troop movements along the border.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has accused India of "arrogance" over its decision to recall its high commissioner in Islamabad and sever transport links between the two countries.

Call for evidence

India says the attack on its parliament was the work of two groups based in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

It also accuses the Pakistan intelligence services of helping the two groups.

Pakistan has insisted that India present it with evidence of the groups' involvement.

India is refusing to do so.

The US has been trying to defuse the rising tensions between the countries.

President Bush froze the assets of Lashkar-e-Toiba on Thursday.

He accused the group of "trying to disrupt relations between India and Pakistan".

But a spokesman for the Lashkar said the US action would have no impact, as it had no assets in Europe or America.

India said it killed a senior member of Lashkar on Sunday.

A defence spokesman said the deputy chief of operations for Lashkar, Saifullah, killed in exchanges of fire in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The BBC's Jim Fish
"Both sides have reinforced their troops along their borders"
See also:

21 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan freezes militants' cash
21 Dec 01 | Americas
More groups join US terror blacklist
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
18 Dec 01 | South Asia
India facing tough choices
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