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Sunday, 13 October, 2002, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
India to review Kashmir deployment
Indian troops near the Line of Control in Jabri.
It is not clear whether any troops will be withdrawn

India says it will shortly review its deployment of troops along the border with Pakistan and will make a decision on whether to withdraw any.

The announcement came from the Deputy Prime Minister, LK Advani, who also told reporters the election results in Pakistan had increased India's concern about the threat of cross-border militancy.

Indian troops patrol the streets in Srinagar
Indian troops in Srinagar
Mr Advani said the review of India's troop numbers on its border with Pakistan would take place on 16 October at a meeting of the national security advisory board. The current numbers are huge.

The two countries between them have deployed more than 1,000,000 soldiers in the disputed state of Kashmir since an attack on the Indian parliament last December.

Delhi blamed this on separatists based in Pakistan, a charge Pakistan denies.

Question mark

There have recently been accounts of extreme fatigue and indiscipline among the Indian soldiers.

But other comments by Mr Advani, who is an extremely powerful figure within the government, leave a question mark on whether any will indeed be pulled back.

He said the results of Pakistan's elections, three days ago, had increased India's concern about what he called cross-border terrorism because, he said, the elections had strengthened Pakistan's army but not strengthened democracy.

He alleged that Islamabad had not fulfilled its pledges on ending infiltration and said he was not hopeful that cross-border militancy was about to diminish.

Mr Advani said the elections in Indian Kashmir, which also took place on Thursday, were a victory for Indian democracy, given that 46% of voters had taken part, despite threats by Islamic rebels.

He accused Pakistan of doing its best to disrupt the polls.

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The BBC's Charles Havilland
"The two countries between them have deployed more than a million soldiers"
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11 Oct 02 | South Asia
11 Oct 02 | South Asia
09 Oct 02 | South Asia
09 Oct 02 | South Asia
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