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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Musharraf to speak out on Kashmir
Indian military convoy in Kashmir
Both sides have been massing troops in Kashmir
The Pakistani president is shortly due to make a nationwide television address on his country's stand-off with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

President Musharraf
Musharraf: Criticised for conducting missile tests
With the prospects of war looming large, correspondents say it could be one of General Pervez Musharraf's most critical addresses since taking power in 1999.

The televised speech (1430 GMT) comes after US Secretary of State Colin Powell criticised Islamabad for conducting two missile tests in as many days.

The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, warned on Sunday that his country's patience was running out.

He is insisting that General Musharraf crack down on the militant groups Delhi blames for attacks on Indian targets.

Click here for the strategic balance between India and Pakistan

But the BBC's Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad says General Musharraf, facing domestic pressure not to give in to Indian demands, is unlikely to announce any fresh measures against Kashmiri militants.

However, our correspondent says he is expected to denounce cross-border terrorism and may reiterate Pakistan's official position of not assisting any militant group in Kashmir.

Both countries have massed troops on the border, and the trading of artillery and small arms fire is reported to be intensifying across their international border and the Line of Control in Kashmir.

The Indian army says one of its soldiers was killed and five villagers injured during heavy exchanges of fire across the line which divides Kashmir on Monday.

Diplomatic efforts

General Musharraf is coming under increasing international pressure to reduce tensions.

Mr Powell said he was disappointed at the timing of Pakistan's ballistic missile tests at a time when relations with neighbouring India are extremely tense.

Kashmir conflict:
  • 1947 - India and Pakistan fight first war over disputed region
  • 1965 - India blames Pakistan for insurgency, war breaks out again
  • 1989 - Insurgency starts in Indian-administered Kashmir
  • 1999 - Heavy clashes around Kargil in Indian-administered Kashmir

  • The US and other countries have also appealed to Islamabad to show results in reining in the militants.

    Russia's deputy foreign minister, who is visiting Islamabad, was expected to extend an offer by President Vladimir Putin to host face-to-face talks between General Musharraf and Mr Vajpayee at an Asian conference next month.

    UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken to General Musharraf by telephone.

    "[Mr Blair] says everything must be done obviously to reduce tension between India and Pakistan, and in particular infiltration across the line in Kashmir had to stop," a British spokesman said.

    Next moves

    Mr Blair is also set to call Mr Vajpayee within the next 24 hours.

    The British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, is expected to press for negotiations between the two countries when he arrives in Islamabad on Tuesday. Washington is sending Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage to the region next week.

    India began the initial military build-up along the border after a bloody attack by militants on the federal parliament in Delhi last December.

    Tension between the two nuclear powers rose again in mid-May after an attack on an army base in Kashmir in which more than 30 people died.

    Indian officials quoted by the French news agency AFP said Mr Vajpayee was waiting for General Musharraf's speech before deciding on Delhi's next move.

    Delhi has repeatedly insisted it will not enter talks with Islamabad over Kashmir until Pakistan stops backing militants - an accusation Pakistan denies.

    Click here to return

    The BBC's David Shukman
    "India claims Pakistan is failing to stop these people"
    Former Pakistan Intelligence officer Gen Hamid Gul
    "We have to maintain a balance of military and psychological power"
    Click here fror background reports and analysis

    Key stories


    See also:

    27 May 02 | South Asia
    27 May 02 | South Asia
    27 May 02 | UK Politics
    23 May 02 | South Asia
    23 May 02 | South Asia
    23 May 02 | Media reports
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