Friday, June 18, 1999 Published at 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
World: South Asia
Thousands flee Kashmir fighting
Two Kashmiri women build a bunker in Drass
At least 30,000 people on the Pakistani side of Kashmir's disputed border have been forced to flee by heavy shelling, according to the Red Cross.
On the Indian side, correspondents estimate more than 20,000 have fled.
The intensification of the fighting comes as India tries to dislodge what it describes as Pakistani-backed infiltrators from its side of the border.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says at least 30,000 have fled from the Pakistani side, and that figure may rise.
Pakistani officials say if people are unable to return to their homes when winter sets in it might be necessary for the government to construct camps for people to stay in.
Pakistan says since the conflict intensified last month, 45 civilians on the Pakistani side of the line have been killed, and 95 have been injured.
Hopes for diplomacy
India is hoping members of the G8 leading industrial nations meeting on Friday in Cologne will help diffuse the escalating tension.
The Pakistani Government says the men are freedom fighters and maintains that it offered them only moral support.
India has been encouraged by President Clinton's call, earlier in the week, for Pakistan to urge the infiltrators to withdraw. India now wants the G8 to issue a similar statement and put Pakistan under international pressure.
Mr Clinton's statement drew sharp criticism in Pakistan, with many viewing it as a shift in US policy towards Kashmir.
A senior officer of the Indian Army, Brigadier Ashok Chopra, told the reporters that Indian troops had advanced close to militant positions but were still inside the Indian side of the Line of Control.
Officials said India had moved some ships earlier this week from their usual stations in the Bay of Bengal to areas off the west coast, bordering Pakistan.
But Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh played down fears of all-out war.
"I do not foresee a large-scale war," he told foreign correspondents. But he also said he did not see signs of the infiltrators withdrawing.
"The simplest way to de-escalate is to reverse the intrusion. If they withdraw, it is de-escalation. At present, I do not see any glimpse of that," Mr Singh said.
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