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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 23:01 GMT
India snubs Pakistan over talks
Indian soldiers on guard in Jammu
Delhi seems determined to maintain pressure on Pakistan
India has rejected Pakistan's offer to hold talks on a phased withdrawal of troops massed along their joint border.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said such talks would be meaningless until Pakistan stopped what she called cross-border terrorism and "harbouring terrorists".

And before considering any offer of dialogue India would also expect Pakistan to act on a list of people wanted in India as criminals, she said.

Indian and Pakistani guards at Wagah border post
The military minuet is set to continue

India has been massing troops along its border with Pakistan since an attack on the parliament in Delhi by militants on 13 December.

In response, Pakistan has also beefed up its forces along the border and on the Line of Control (LoC) in disputed Kashmir.

The presence of combat-ready forces facing each other along the border has heightened fears of all-out war.

Nuclear worries

Both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons and have aircraft and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them.

Tension rose another notch recently when India test-fired a ballistic missile capable of hitting targets up to 700 kilometres away.

Analysts believe this was a signal designed to demonstrate Delhi's determination to stand firm in its demand for action from Pakistan.

Indian spokeswoman Nirupama Rao
India maintains a tough stance

Since a keynote speech by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's on 12 January, Islamabad has cracked down on militant Islamists, including groups accused by India of carrying out the attack in Delhi.

But Indian leaders say they are not satisfied that Pakistan has done enough to merit talks or scale down forces.

Fears of a major conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours have prompted a spate of high-profile visits to the region.

Prime Ministers Tony Blair of Britain and Zhu Rongji of China, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan have urged the two neighbours to hold talks.

Washington is sending Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam to India and Pakistan next week to urge a reduction of tension and focus on the campaign against terrorism.

And on 13 February, President Bush will receive President Musharraf at the White House.

See also:

13 Jan 02 | South Asia
Bush urges Pakistan-India dialogue
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Pakistan to regulate religious schools
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Musharraf speech highlights
14 Jan 02 | Business
Indian and Pakistani markets rally
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
India cautious on Musharraf
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Analysis: Musharraf's gamble
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