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Wednesday, 26 December, 2001, 22:55 GMT
US adds pressure on Pakistan
Indian soldier mans a machine gun in disputed Kashmir
India has accused Pakistan of waging war
The United States has added two Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups to its official list of foreign terrorist organisations.

The groups - Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad - were accused by India of being behind a suicide attack on the Indian parliament earlier this month in which 14 people died.


I am taking another important step in our campaign to eliminate the scourge of terrorism

Colin Powell
US Secretary of State
It comes amid rising tensions between the two nuclear South Asian powers, which have reinforced troops and missiles along their joint border.

As the stand-off continued on Wednesday, there was heightened diplomatic activity to try to stop the situation from escalating, with China, Bangladesh and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan joining calls for both countries to exercise restraint.

India has demanded Pakistan take firm action against the two groups, and correspondents say America's move has increased the pressure on Pakistan to do so.

Delicate diplomacy

US Secretary of State Colin Powell told journalists the Kashmiri groups "seek to assault democracy, undermine peace, and stability in South Asia and destroy relations between India and Pakistan".


The US declaration criminalises giving money or material help to the two groups and blocks their assets.

The BBC's David Bamford says at the same time the US has sought to avoid appearing as though it is siding with India against its neighbour.

It has not specifically linked groups to the attack on the Indian parliament but said they are terrorist organisations and and wants to work with both governments to shut them down.

US officials are concerned a flare-up in violence between India and Pakistan could harm progress in its campaign against worldwide terrorism.

Pakistan has already frozen the groups' assets and arrested the founder of the Jaish group, but the Indian foreign minister dismissed the moves as "cosmetic".

Sanctions

India's Cabinet Commimttee on Security (CCS) met on Wednesday evening to discuss the crisis, but postponed a decision for at least 24 hours.

India has already recalled its ambassador in Islamabad and says all cross-border bus and rail links will cease from 1 January.


When India is attacked in the way it was, frankly what Pakistan has done is wage war against India

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes

Other measures under discussion include banning Pakistan airline flights and cutting off a major water supply.

External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said the meeting would continue on Thursday after Defence Minister George Fernandes returned from a visit to Indian-administered Kashmir.

Mr Fernandes earlier told the BBC that Pakistan had declared war on India and something had to be done.

"When India is attacked in the way it was, frankly what Pakistan has done is wage war against India," he said.

Pakistan denied any involvement in the attack on the Indian parliament on 13 December and has appealed to India to end it "aggressive" military build-up.

Missiles moved

The defence minister said India's missiles were "in position" on the border with Pakistan.

Pakistani families leave their village on the border with India
Villagers have been fleeing the border as tension mounts

Media reports said the army had moved its battery of surface Prithvi missiles from the south of the country to the nothern Punjab state.

The Prithvi missiles have a range of 150 kilometres (93 miles) and are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

As the military build-up continued, Indian security forces claimed on Wednesday to have killed 16 Pakistani soldiers and destroyed 19 bunkers across the border in Indian-controlled Kashmir, according to the United News of India news agency.

Pakistan dismissed the report as "totally baseless".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Fiona Werge
"Both sides are ratcheting up the war rhetoric"
See also:

26 Dec 01 | South Asia
China urges border restraint
24 Dec 01 | South Asia
Kashmir police 'smash al-Qaeda cell'
24 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan freezes militant funds
23 Dec 01 | South Asia
India-Pakistan tensions sharpen
21 Dec 01 | Americas
More groups join US terror blacklist
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
23 Dec 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Al-Qaeda threat lives on
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