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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Attacks raise India-Pakistan tension
Pakistani soldiers man anti-aircraft guns in Karachi
Fears of war are intensifying in the region
Fresh militant attacks on security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir and heavy exchanges of fire across the border are heightening fears of another Indo-Pakistani conflict.

Hardline Hindu activists demonstrate in Delhi demanding action against Pakistan
India is under mounting pressure to act

Two security personnel were killed and six others wounded in three different attacks on Monday in the Jammu region of the disputed state.

Indian and Pakistani troops continued exchanges of artillery, mortar and automatic fire across the line of control (LOC) dividing Kashmir, as well as the international border separating them.

Pakistan denies Indian accusations of sponsoring the Kashmiri militants while reiterating support for what it describes as their legitimate struggle for freedom.

Tensions have risen since Tuesday's militant attack on an Indian garrison near Jammu in which more than 30 people, including wives and children of soldiers, were killed.

Bombs and ambushes

Police say suspected militants attacked an army camp in Rajouri close to Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Monday, killing a soldier and wounding two others.

Boy injured in shelling is treated at a military hospital in Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Cross-border firing has escalated

Militants are said to have ambushed a paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force patrol in Jammu's Doda district, killing a soldier and wounding two comrades.

In another incident, militants exploded a bomb on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, wounding two soldiers from a patrol on duty at the time.

The attacks are putting the Indian government under pressure from those demanding stern action against Pakistan on the one hand and those cautioning against the dangers of escalation on the other.

India and Pakistan have gone to war three times since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, twice over Kashmir.

India's expulsion of Pakistani High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi on Saturday and the flight of Kashmiri villagers from shelling around border areas have further intensified fears of another conflict.

Right-wing groups close to the Prime Minister's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been agitating for a swift military response.

Mr Vajpayee met opposition leaders Sonia Gandhi of the Congress on Sunday, and AB Bardhan of the Communist Party of India on Monday.

Mixed messages

Mr Bardhan said India should explore diplomatic and economic measures against Pakistan before embarking on any military operation.

Indian soldiers load live ammunition before setting off on patrol along the Punjab border
Massive numbers of troops are deployed along the border

But the Prime Minister appears to be keeping all options open.

On Sunday, he was briefed by the chiefs of India's armed forces, and ordered that the paramilitary Border Security Force and Coast Guard be placed under command of the army and the navy.

The international community led by the United States, keen to avoid the dangers of escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbours, has called for restraint.

On Monday, India's Defence Secretary Yogendra Narayan begins consultations with his US counterparts who are expected to urge caution.

But senior US official Christina Rocca's recent visit to India and Pakistan showed how little effect pressure from foreign friends have.

The BBC's Adam Mynott
"The crisis between the two countries has deepened"
Former Indian Air Chief Marshal, N.C. Suri
"We want peace with Pakistan"
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See also:

19 May 02 | South Asia
18 May 02 | South Asia
17 May 02 | South Asia
16 May 02 | South Asia
16 May 02 | South Asia
15 May 02 | South Asia
15 May 02 | South Asia
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