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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
UN staff families to leave S Asia
Pakistani activists shout slogans against India as they hold the model of a missile
Many Pakistanis believe missiles are their best defence
Diplomats say the United Nations has decided to evacuate the families of its staff from India and Pakistan because of the continuing tensions between the two countries over Kashmir.

On Saturday, France followed the UK, the US and other Western countries in advising its citizens and non-essential diplomatic staff to leave the region.

Enlarge image Enlarge map
In an interview with CNN, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf sought to reassure the international community saying he did not think either side "was that irresponsible" to use nuclear weapons.

But as international pressure mounts on the two nuclear-capable states to avert a full-scale war, Indian and Pakistani troops continue to fire at each other across the Line of Control in Kashmir.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said one person had been killed and dozens wounded in three grenade attacks since late on Friday.

On Saturday, an attack on a police post in Anantnag wounded a policeman and 16 civilians. Another assault in Kulgam was apparently aimed at a pro-Indian militant who was injured along with 10 passers-by.

Foreigners leave Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport
Foreigners from many countries are being urged to leave
Earlier, officials said one person had been killed and 13 others wounded when suspected Muslim rebels threw a grenade in the city of Srinagar.

There is also increasing tension on the diplomatic front, with India accusing Pakistani intelligence agents of abducting a member of its high commission staff in Islamabad.

Pakistan also accused Indian agents of abducting one of its high commission employees in Delhi on Friday. But an Indian spokeswoman said the man had been detained on charges of espionage.

International 'failure'

The US is sending Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to the region next week in an effort to calm tensions between India and Pakistan.


Indian soldier at an army camp near the Pakistan border
Rising tension:

1 October 2001:
38 killed in attack on the Kashmir assembly in Srinagar
13 December 2001:
14 killed in attack on the Indian parliament building in Delhi
14 May 2002:
More than 30 killed in attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir
21 May 2002:
Moderate Kashmiri politician Abdul Ghani Lhone shot dead


US Secretary of State Colin Powell said he had seen indications that Pakistan has given orders to stop infiltrations across the Line of Control - one of India's key demands.

He told the BBC that, if that happened, he would be asking India to withdraw its forces.

Pakistan's Information Minister Nisar Memon welcomed the US statement, but said it had taken the international community too long to acknowledge that Islamabad is acting against militants.

The BBC's Susannah Price says Islamabad believes the international community has failed to put any pressure on Delhi to end its threats of military action and start a dialogue.

Indian officials said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would meet Russian and Chinese leaders to discuss the crisis, after attending a regional summit in Kazakhstan.

Pakistan has called on the Indian prime minister to hold talks with President Pervez Musharraf there, but it is not clear whether that will happen.

Scaling-down

This week, thousands of foreign nationals from several countries were advised to leave India amid fears that its confrontation with Pakistan may lead to war.

Citizens' advice
US and UK: Citizens, non-essential diplomats and families to consider leaving India
France: Nationals whose presence is not essential advised to leave
Germany: Citizens advised to leave India. Diplomats stay
Denmark: Citizens asked not to travel to India or Pakistan
Canada and Australia: Non-essential diplomats to go. Citizens advised to leave
New Zealand: Families of diplomats in India being withdrawn

France, which last week advised its citizens to leave Pakistan, on Saturday recommended that they should also leave India.

The decision to remove the dependants of UN staff in Pakistan and India was taken in New York.

Britain and other Western countries have already scaled down their operations in Pakistan following attacks, or threats of attacks, by Islamic militants.

The BBC's Adam Mynott in Delhi says many Britons, including high commission staff, are expected to leave the Indian capital later on Saturday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott
"The Kashmir crisis is deepening"
The BBC's Susannah Price in Islamabad
"People here are extremely worried"
Click here fror background reports and analysis

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See also:

01 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | UK Politics
31 May 02 | South Asia
30 May 02 | South Asia
29 May 02 | South Asia
28 May 02 | South Asia
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