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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 05:15 GMT 06:15 UK
Time 'running out' over Kashmir
Jack Straw and Atal Behari Vajpayee
Mr Straw believes war is "not inevitable"
India has again pressed Pakistan to act swiftly against militants who launch attacks into Indian-administered Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said it was vital that Pakistan's leader General Musharraf recognised the urgency of the Pervez situation.

General Musharraf has had all the time he wants

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh

Mr Singh was speaking in Delhi where he met UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who has been visiting the region to try to avert a possible war between the two nuclear powers.

Mr Straw, who had talks with Pakistani leaders on Tuesday, said he believed that the situation was dangerous, but that war was not inevitable.

Enlarge image Enlarge map
He said he believed that persistent diplomacy had to continue and that there were some grounds for optimism from his talks.

His mission came amid increasing tension as fighting continued across the Kashmiri border and Pakistan test-fired a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads for the third time on Tuesday.

Approach to terrorism

Mr Singh described his meeting with Mr Straw as "candid and fruitful" on a range of issues, with a lengthy discussion on the current stand-off with Pakistan.

"General Musharraf has had all the time he wants. It is vital that he recognise the urgency of the situation", he told reporters afterwards.
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


  • Mr Straw said the UK stood "four-square with civilised governments around the world, particularly with the government of India, on our approach to terrorism".

    Mr Singh has rejected General Musharraf's speech earlier this week on the current tensions between the two countries as "dangerous and absurd, and on Tuesday said he regarded Pakistan as the "epicentre of terrorism" in the world.

    But he also ruled out India launching the first nuclear strike in any conflict.

    The British foreign secretary said he believed General Musharraf was serious about preventing such incursions.

    But he added that the international community expected "action not words" from the general.

    Future consideration

    Earlier, Mr Straw told reporters that he had assured India that Britain condemned terrorism "in all its forms, including cross-border terrorism and terrorism that is dressed up as 'freedom fighters'".


    India:
  • Agni II intermediate-range missile
  • Tested 1999
  • 200 kiloton nuclear warhead

    Pakistan:

  • Shaheen II intermediate-range missile
  • Tested 1999
  • 35 kiloton nuclear warhead


  • After talks with various government and opposition politicians, Mr Straw also met Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Wednesday, but declined to give details.

    He said he would be discussing his meetings in Delhi and Islamabad with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair during his flight back to the UK on Wednesday evening.

    Mr Straw also said he would be talking to US Secretary of State Colin Powell and European Union officials.

    "I do believe there is material here in the meetings that I have had which is worth of future consideration", he told reporters.

    Mr Straw also hinted that western governments may have an informed role to play in the future.

    Tension rose again in the region two weeks ago after an attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir in which more than 30 people died.

    In renewed clashes overnight, authorities in Pakistan said at least five people were killed and eight others injured when Indian troops shelled the Pakistani border village of Bajra Gahri in Punjab province.

    While the Indian army said at least six people were killed in cross-border firing in Dras, 150 kilometres (155 miles) north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir.

     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Barnie Choudhury in Delhi
    "Straw will tell Colin Powell it's important America plays its part"
    Pakistan Information Minister Nisar Memon
    "We are a peace loving country"
    Click here fror background reports and analysis

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    See also:

    28 May 02 | UK Politics
    28 May 02 | South Asia
    29 May 02 | South Asia
    28 May 02 | South Asia
    27 May 02 | South Asia
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