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Sunday, 30 December, 2001, 09:59 GMT
India parties back tough stance
Hindu refugees leave Kashmir
Cross-border shelling has been reported in Kashmir
The Indian Government says all political parties have offered their support if it goes to war against Pakistan.

But Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told opposition leaders in Delhi he was confident diplomatic pressure would resolve the escalating crisis.

The government plans to send politicians abroad to plead India's case and call on the international community for support.

"I firmly believe this will put sufficient pressure on Pakistan and it will be forced to act against the terrorist groups," Mr Vajpayee was quoted as saying by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan.

Indian PM
Vajpayee has ruled out meeting the Pakistani leader
The crisis began after the 13 December attack on the Indian parliament, which Delhi blames on what it describes as Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.

"We don't want war. If war is thrust upon us, then we should face it united," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan told reporters after the all-party meeting.

Mr Vajpayee called the talks to brief opposition leaders on the confrontation, which has been accompanied by large troop movements on either side.

Officials said the political leaders had approved steps already taken by the Indian Government, and its future plans, although they did not describe what form those might take.

The Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, has also gathered top politicians to discuss his response to the tensions with India.

"All the mainstream political parties have been invited," said Rashid Quereshi, spokesman for Pakistan's military-led government.

New deployment

The show of unity in Delhi came as Pakistani military officials reported that India had made further preparations for war, by moving its eastern command to their common border.


The president urged President Musharraf to take additional strong, decisive measures to eliminate the extremists who seek to... provoke a war between India and Pakistan

White House spokesman
This was a step which preceded previous conflicts in 1965 and 1971, and Pakistan says it may have to respond by redeploying troops from the Afghan border.

Concern over troop deployment sparked a late-night flurry of telephone conversations between Washington and Islamabad.

Pakistani officials say General Musharraf told the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, about intelligence reports that Indian troops were being redeployed from Assam and Bengal to the Pakistani border.

Officials say President Bush then telephoned the Pakistani leader to urge restraint, followed by another call from Colin Powell.

Pakistani Information Ministry spokesman Anwar Mahmood said the latest reports of Indian troop movements were a clear signal that an attack could be coming.

There are reports that some Pakistani anti-aircraft guns and other forces have been redeployed from the Afghan border to the Indian border.

Talks ruled out

The Indian prime minister has ruled out talks with General Musharraf next week and says India is ready for "every eventuality".

Pakistani women cry as they return to Pakistan from India
The conflict is uprooting civilians
The two leaders are due to attend a regional summit in Nepal.

US officials say that in his call to the Pakistan leader, President Bush urged him to take "strong, decisive measures" against militants suspected of attacking India.

Mr Bush told Mr Vajpayee that the United States was "determined to co-operate with India in the fight against terrorism".

Nuclear fears

Pakistan has warned that a minor provocation could escalate into an all-out war with India.

The two countries have ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said the use of such weapons should be "inconceivable".

But he warned that any "small action would trigger a chain of action and reaction, leading to a conflict that neither side desires".

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over disputed Kashmir, and came close to a fourth in 1999.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jill McGivering in Delhi
"Ties which took years to establish are being dismantled"
Pakistani government spokesman Aziz Khan
"We condemned the attack on the Indian Parliament"
Indian Government spokesman, Hardeep Puri
"General Musharraf has to realise the gravity of the situation"
See also:

28 Dec 01 | Media reports
Press urges calm as tensions rise
28 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistanis 'could be stuck in India'
28 Dec 01 | South Asia
India-Pakistan buses close down
26 Dec 01 | South Asia
US adds pressure on Pakistan
24 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan freezes militant funds
29 Dec 01 | South Asia
Taj Mahal 'to be camouflaged'
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