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Tuesday, June 15, 1999 Published at 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK

World: South Asia

India shells Kashmir 'supply routes'

India's Jaswant Singh held talks with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji

India is shelling supply routes inside Pakistan it says are supporting infiltrators on their side of the disputed Kashmir region.

Kashmir Conflict
An army spokesman said India was was targeting administrative bases across the Line of Control, following the recapture of strategic positions over the weekend.

"We are taking on these targets using artillery fire, without crossing the Line of Control," said army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh.

India had said it had captured key mountain peaks after fierce hand to hand fighting.

(Click here to see a map of the area)

[ image: India is firing shells across the line of control]
India is firing shells across the line of control
Earlier in Pakistan, military sources said there were some signs the Indian military was mobilising on the border away from Kashmir.

According to the BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad, the sources said there was evidence that Indian air and ground forces were moving to forward positions along the two countries' common border.

The Pakistan army said it was monitoring the Indian build-up "closely and taking measures for (its) defence".

The National Security Council's P J Croughley on the US stand
The conflict has alarmed the world with US President Bill Clinton telephoning India's prime minister and urging restraint. Mr Clinton was due to make a similar call to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

But India has said talks with Pakistan are possible only after the infiltrators are "withdrawn".

China for negotiations

[ image: Residents living near the border are fleeing]
Residents living near the border are fleeing
China, which is holding high-level talks with India, has called for a negotiated settlement to the ongoing conflict.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing said China believed the two countries could settle the dispute through dialogue.

The statement was made as Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh held talks with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji in Beijing.

The Chinese prime minister is reported to have expressed satisfaction with the improvement in relations between India and China.

Mr Singh is the highest official level visit since India's nuclear tests last year, when India identified China as a major threat.

Many flee border areas

Many people living near India's border with Pakistan are reported to be evacuating the area.

In the state of Punjab, villagers along the border are leaving, carrying their belongings on bicycles, tractor-trailers and ox carts. They said they were worried that war would break out between India and Pakistan.

[ image:  ]

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