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Sunday, June 13, 1999 Published at 01:50 GMT 02:50 UK


World: South Asia

No deal at Kashmir talks

The two foreign ministers may meet again in Islamabad

India and Pakistan have ended their talks on the fierce fighting in Kashmir without agreement on how to halt the conflict.

Kashmir Conflict
Even while the foreign ministers met in Delhi - for the first such talks since the outbreak of fighting - Indian warplanes were conducting attacks on suspected infiltrators in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Tensions have risen to their highest levels in the region for nearly 30 years.


BBC South Asia Correspondent Mike Wooldridge: "Little to suggest that anything will change on the ground."
Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Sartaj Aziz, has now returned home after the day's talks in Delhi.

As indicated in advance by Indian foreign ministry officials, there has been no joint press conference or statement.

"I had no illusion that the current difficulties could be resolved in a day's visit to Delhi," Mr Aziz told reporters after meeting Mr Singh and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in Delhi.

He said that he had offered proposals to continue the dialogue.

"I am hopeful the Indian government will consider those suggestions so that the talks can be carried forward," he said.


[ image: Indian commandos try to flush out separatists]
Indian commandos try to flush out separatists
But his Indian counterpart, Jaswant Singh, said Pakistan would have to withdraw from Indian Kashmir before hoping to pursue a dialogue.

"It is for Pakistan to establish its bonafides. We do not have the luxury to talk about talks."

" There is no dialogue as such," Mr Singh added. "The visit took place at the request of the foreign minister and the prime minister of Pakistan."

The Indian foreign minister said Mr Aziz had invited him to visit Islamabad, but did not indicate if he had accepted the offer.

Torture allegation


The BBC's Mike Wooldridge: "India has now condemned it as a reversion to barbaric medievalism"
Before the talks, Indian government officials accused Pakistan of the "barbaric" torture and murder of six soldiers captured in Kashmir and returned home on Friday.

Indian officials also said they had taped conversations purported to be between two top Pakistani military officials on undermining the peace talks.

Both charges were denied by Pakistan.

(Click here to see a map of the area)

A Pakistani spokesman said the bodies of the Indian soldiers had been recovered from a remote and inaccessible site and their handing over to India was a gesture of "military goodwill."

Fierce fighting has continued, as India seeks to wrestle back control of this terrain.

Indian air force planes on Saturday launched fresh air strikes on positions held by separatist Muslim guerrillas in Kashmir.

India depicts its forces as being pitched mainly against the regular Pakistan army. Pakistan says it is pro-Kashmiri militants who are waging battle against the Indian army.



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