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Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK

World: South Asia

US urges Pakistani pullback in Kashmir

Indian forces said they repelled an attack on two positions

The US has said it want to see Pakistani forces pull back from the Line of Control in the disputed territory of Kashmir following a clash between Indian and Pakistani troops earlier this week.

Kashmir Conflict
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that Pakistan's new military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, had carried out a pledge to withdraw his forces from the international border with India.

"We would also like it done on the Line of Control (in Kashmir)," she added.

On Tuesday, India said it had repelled an attack by Pakistani forces on two Indian positions along the Line of Control, killing four Pakistani soldiers.

It was the first such incident since the military coup in Pakistan.

A Indian Defence Ministry spokesman said at least 20 Pakistani soldiers were involved in the attack, which took place early on Monday morning.

Call to reduce tension

General Musharraf recently ordered a unilateral reduction of troops along the international border, but said troops along the LoC in Kashmir would not be reduced.

Mrs Albright said that clashes between the two sides tend to happen at this time of year, but called on both sides "to do whatever they can to reduce tensions".

India has expressed concern about the coup in Pakistan, and says it is watching developments closely.

It has also called on Pakistan to stop what it calls "cross-border terrorism" in Kashmir.

Earlier this year, there was heavy fighting in the Kargil sector of Kashmir after Pakistani-backed forces infiltrated Indian-held territory.

The conflict subsided when, under international pressure, Pakistan urged the infiltrators to pull back.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they won independence from Britain in August 1947, two of them over Kashmir.

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