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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 06:31 GMT 07:31 UK
Bush warns Pakistan over Kashmir
Women pack up their belongings in Kashmir
Local people are packing up and leaving in droves
US President George W Bush has given his strongest warning yet to Pakistan that it must prevent militants crossing the line of control in Kashmir to attack Indian targets.

The president said the United States was part of an international coalition applying pressure to both parties - but especially to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

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"He must stop the incursions across the line of control. He must do so. He said he would do so," Mr Bush said.

His comments follow Thursday's attack on a police base in Indian-administered Kashmir by separatist militants, in which three police officers died.

Two militants were killed in a gun battle after entering the camp in the mountainous area of Doda, about 180 kilometres (110 miles) north-east of Jammu.

Mr Bush also told reporters that the administration would be considering what measures to take to protect US citizens in India and Pakistan.

Rumsfeld visit

Mr Bush is sending his Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, to both countries next week to try to avert the threat of war over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Indian soldier
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 BBC's Jon Leyne in Washington says the US president's decision to send Mr Rumsfeld to the region shows the administration's level of concern over the situation.

    Mr Rumsfeld is expected to spell out to India and Pakistan the terrible cost of any nuclear conflict for the two countries and the entire region.

    "It's the millions and millions and millions of people who live in those two countries who would be damaged by a conflict," he said.

    Russia has said that President Vladimir Putin will seek to defuse the crisis at an Asian summit in Kazakhstan next week.

    And the interim Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, has urged India and Pakistan to consider the ruinous effect that war had on Afghanistan.

    Troop movements

    The diplomatic moves were announced as General Musharraf's spokesman, General Rashid Qureshi, confirmed that troops were being moved from Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan to reinforce its eastern frontier with India.

    He said the redeployment would not affect Pakistan's attempts to prevent al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters from entering the country after fleeing US military operations in Afghanistan.

    An Indian army spokesman, meanwhile, said he had "full knowledge" of the troop movement and that India was "in complete control of the situation".

    Tension has been increasing for the past two weeks, when three men India says were Pakistani-based Islamic militants attacked an army camp in Kashmir, killing 31 soldiers and their families.

    Since that attack, India and Pakistan have amassed a million men between them along their border, backed by missile batteries, tanks and fighter planes.

    Regular exchanges of fire are taking place. The Indian army said one of its soldiers was killed on Thursday as the two sides shelling each other's positions.

    The BBC's Mike Wooldridge reports from Islamabad
    "Pakistan will be looking for an evenhandedness on the part of the Americans"
    Lt Gen Hamid Gul Haq, ex-Pakistan's security service
    "Security of Pakistan comes first every time"
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    See also:

    31 May 02 | South Asia
    30 May 02 | South Asia
    29 May 02 | South Asia
    29 May 02 | South Asia
    28 May 02 | South Asia
    14 Dec 01 | South Asia
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