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Thursday, June 17, 1999 Published at 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK

World: South Asia

Press highlights Clinton's Kashmir comments

Kashmir still at the centre of the news

The crisis over Kashmir is continuing to dominate coverage in both India and Pakistan.

Pakistani papers focus on the Foreign Ministry's denial that militants who have entered the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir are under its control.

Kashmir Conflict
The denial follows President Clinton's appeal to Islamabad to use its influence to persuade militants to withdraw.

The Nation notes that President Clinton's remarks came under fire from politicians and mujahideen groups in Pakistan, who complained that it showed a "bias" towards India.

The Times of India carries a cartoon showing a stern-looking President Clinton ordering a Pakistani robber carrying a bag marked 'Kargil' to return it over a wall marked 'LoC' (Line of Control), with the robber saying: 'But Bill, I thought you were my friend!'

The Deccan Chronicle's editorial urges caution when apportioning blame for Kashmir.

The paper says that there are indications that Pakistan is shifting from a 'proxy war' towards 'open confrontation' over Kashmir, but adds that there is little evidence to suggest that Pakistan has a 'grandiose strategy to destabilise India'.

The Hindu praises China's neutrality in the Kashmir conflict, and says that it gives India and China the opportunity to improve relations and embark on a 'fresh new beginning'.

The paper adds that improved Sino-Indian relations have been given a sharp new edge by the two countries' common stand against Nato's intervention within sovereign borders on behalf of ethnic minorities, as was the case in Kosovo.

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