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Sunday, 30 December, 2001, 16:13 GMT
Pakistan 'ready for war'
A Pakistan Ranger tries to calm a crowd shouting slogans across the border to India
A Pakistan Ranger tries to maintain calm on the border
The Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, has said his country wants peace with India but is ready for war if forced into it, as the two nuclear powers' military build-up continues.

"Pakistan has taken all counter measures," General Musharraf said after talks with Pakistani politicians on the mounting tensions over disputed Kashmir.


Pakistan wants peace, Pakistan wants to reduce tensions

President Musharraf
"If any war is thrust on Pakistan, the Pakistan Armed Forces and the 140 million people of Pakistan are fully prepared to face all consequences with all their might," he said.

The crisis began after the 13 December attack on the Indian parliament, which Delhi blames on what it describes as Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.

Senior Pakistani officials believe an attack by India may be imminent, the BBC's Jonathan Charles reports from Islamabad.

India reported shelling by Pakistani troops on Sunday across the Line of Control in Kashmir, where both countries have been massing forces.

At least 60,000 Indians have fled their homes in the past five days amid heavy shelling, Kashmir Housing Minister Ghulam Shah said.

India closes ranks

The Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee bolstered his position on Sunday, as the government said all political parties had offered their support if India went to war against Pakistan.


But Mr Vajpayee told opposition leaders in Delhi he was confident diplomatic pressure would resolve the escalating crisis.

The Indian 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.

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.

A family leaves the village of Pura on the India-Pakistan border
India says thousands of people have fled heavy shelling in recent days
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 George W Bush then telephoned the Pakistani leader to urge restraint, followed by another call from Colin Powell.

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".

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.

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 Jonathan Charles reports from Islamabad
"Pakistani sources think Indian action could come within days"
The BBC's Jill McGivering reports from Delhi
"India looks like a country getting ready for war"
President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf
"Pakistan has taken all counter measures"
Indian government spokesman, Hardeep Puri
"If war is thrust upon us, we must be prepared"
See also:

30 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Blair urges India-Pakistan restraint
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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