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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 19:56 GMT 20:56 UK
Kashmir crisis 'far from over'
Indian security forces carry body of dead militant
India said militants would be "neutralised"
India has said a de-escalation of tension with Pakistan is still a "long way off", claiming there are some 3,000 Pakistan-backed militants still operating in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes said India expected Pakistan to do more to stop Islamic gunmen crossing the border from Pakistan-administered Kashmir.


Dialogue with Pakistan is not possible until infiltration is permanently stopped

George Fernandes, Indian defence minister
And in an exclusive interview with the BBC, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said the two countries came very close to war over Kashmir and the situation along the border remained serious.

In continuing violence, up to 14 people were killed in clashes between Islamic militants and Indian security forces on Friday.

The killings marked the highest number of fatalities since last Sunday, when 21 people died in fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Border 'still tense'

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Kashmiri front-line on Friday, Mr Fernandes warned that the border was "still volatile".

George Fernandes
Fernandes said Pakistan must do more to reduce tensions

He said troops were in "action on both sides and there is no change in the border scene".

The defence minister accused Pakistan of helping thousands of militants to cross into Indian-administered Kashmir, and said "efforts would be taken effectively to neutralise them".

Pakistan, which denies having helped the rebels, says it has stopped militants infiltrating Indian-administered Kashmir.

On Thursday, Mr Fernandes acknowledged that infiltrations had nearly ended.

Pakistan has called on India to reduce its forces on the border to defuse tension, but Mr Fernandes said India would only pull back troops once cross-border infiltrations had come to a complete halt.

India and Pakistan have amassed nearly a million troops on their border in Kashmir since December, when Islamic militants staged a deadly attack on the Indian parliament in Delhi.

Militants killed

Indian security forces killed 13 Islamic militants in Indian-administered Kashmir on Friday, Indian army and security sources said.

A military spokesman said soldiers killed five guerrillas in the village of Kaimoh, about 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

Three rebels were killed in clashes with troops in Handwara district, while militants shot dead Ghulam Rasool, a politician from Kashmir's ruling National Conference Party, in the nearby village of Wadipora, police said.

Mr Rasool was the second National Conference Party official to be gunned down this week.

Five militants were also killed in two other separate clashes, according to police.

About a dozen rebel groups are fighting Indian control in Kashmir, where more than 33,000 people have been killed since a rebellion broke out in 1989.


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