Sunday, July 4, 1999 Published at 00:08 GMT 01:08 UK
World: South Asia
US push for Kashmir peace
Last rites: Five-year-old Shiva Kumar lights the pyre of his father, killed in Kashmir
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is heading for Washington for urgent talks with President Clinton after 24 hours of the fiercest fighting in Kashmir since the conflict began seven weeks ago.
Washington has repeatedly asked the two countries to show restraint and President Clinton has even asked Mr Sharif to use his influence to withdraw the militants from the area.
On Saturday, an Indian army colonel said his forces had recovered weapons and equipment that indicated the involvement of Pakistani regular forces alongside the militants.
Mr Clinton has also spoken by telephone with the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee.
But Delhi has ruled out further meetings with Islamabad until the withdrawal of what India says are Pakistani-backed infiltrators who have crossed the "line of control" which divides Kashmir.
Indian authorities say that parliamentary elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be held along with the rest of the country as planned in September.
India says its troops have been pushing infiltrators back towards the line of control.
India has reportedly deployed commandos specially trained in mountain warfare as part of a weekend assault to recapture a key summit.
At least three battalions of commandos are reported to be edging towards positions in the Tiger Hills from where the infiltrators have been shelling the Srinagar-Leh highway.
The Indian forces are backed by artillery fire from some 140 Bofors 155mm guns, pounding the infiltrators entrenched in bunkers on the 15,140ft (4,950m) peak.
An Indian army spokesman, Colonel Bikram Singh, said the opposing forces were able to sustain their defences more easily with supplies and reinforcements close at hand.
Indian troops have been trying to push back the infiltrators for more than seven weeks now.
The spokesman said 23 Indian soldiers were killed in the past 24 hours, compared with 24 of their opponents. According to some reports, 17 of the Indian casualties were sustained in a single action.
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