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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 21:31 GMT 22:31 UK
US urges calm over Kashmir attack
US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca
Rocca is holding talks in both India and Pakistan
US peace envoy Christina Rocca urged the Indian Government to defuse tensions with Pakistan when she met Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh in Delhi on Tuesday.

The meeting followed one of the bloodiest attacks in recent months by suspected separatists in Indian-administered Kashmir, which claimed 30 lives including those of the three militants.

It's just this type of barbarism that the war on terrorism is determined to stop

Christina Rocca

Ms Rocca, a US assistant secretary of state, condemned the assault on the army camp near Jammu as "barbaric terrorism" and said the US-led war on terrorism was aimed at preventing such acts.

Pakistan, which the US envoy is due to visit on Wednesday, has issued a limited condemnation of the attack, saying it strongly condemns the deaths of civilians in Kashmir.

She is in the region in a new attempt to prevent any escalation in cross-border tensions between India and Pakistan.

The United States is a traditional ally of Pakistan, but relations with India have warmed considerably since Washington lifted sanctions against both countries when they joined the coalition against terrorism.

Militant activity

The BBC's Adam Mynott says Indian authorities told Ms Rocca that what they describe as Pakistan-sponsored terrorism had not stopped.

They said the violence was continuing despite an assurance from the Pakistani Government that it has clamped down on militant groups based in Pakistan.

Family member of Kashmir attack victim
Rocca described the Kashmir attack as 'barbaric'
Indian officials said she would be shown evidence that Pakistan is still backing militant activity.

Tensions between the two countries have risen sharply since December, when militants launched an attack on India's parliament buildings in Delhi.

India accused Pakistani intelligence of backing the attack, a charge vigorously denied in Islamabad.

Washington has launched a diplomatic offensive since then to ensure that rivalry between the two nuclear-armed neighbours does not spill over into full-scale war.

Military exercises

As part of expanded co-operation since the attacks on the United States on 11 September, the first joint military exercises between Indian and American troops have been taking place.

Reports said some 200 US Special Operations troops began the exercises on Saturday near Agra, the site of the Taj Mahal.

Ms Rocca said military co-operation was the "most topical area" of relations between India and the United states.

In March, the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet, said the chance of war between India and Pakistan was at its highest for 30 years.

Mr Tenet, who was testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on threats to US interests worldwide, said there was a danger of a major conflagration involving the two nuclear-armed states over Kashmir.

See also:

06 Apr 02 | South Asia
Indian police warn of Kashmir 'plot'
15 May 02 | South Asia
Pakistan condemns Kashmir deaths
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