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Friday, May 28, 1999 Published at 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK

India and Pakistan pledge to play on

Pakistan's win over Australia has put them on the verge of the Super Six

India and Pakistan have both vowed not to let the increased tension in Kashmir affect the Cricket World Cup.

The teams look set to meet each other in the second round of the competition.

And concern has been growing that the latest airborne clashes over the disputed territory could lead to knock-on problems on the pitch.

If, as expected, India and Pakistan do meet, the teams have assured World Cup organisers the match will go ahead - even if the conflict escalates.

On the brink of qualifying

Pakistan's passage into the "Super Six" stage is all but assured after an impressive start to the tournament which has seen them win their first three games.

[ image: Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have resurrected India's campaign]
Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have resurrected India's campaign
India are also now in top form, having won their last two matches in emphatic fashion after suffering the shock of losing their opening two games.

Victory over hosts England at Edgbaston on Saturday will confirm their qualification for the second round.

But should India lose there is still a chance they can get through on run rate calculations.

If both teams qualify they will definitely play each other - but the venue for any India-Pakistan game will not be determined until the final group standings are confirmed.

Tightened security

Kashmir Conflict
Despite the tensions in Kashmir, competition organisers have no plans to segregate supporters of the two sides.

But they say they will bring in extra police and security guards for any potential fixture.

Defence analysts have dismissed fears that the military tensions between the two countries could spark crowd trouble among the expatriate communities.

Andrew Brookes, defence analyst of the International Institute of Strategic Studies said: "The communities in Britain are pretty level-headed. They know in their heart of hearts the last thing they need over here is to transfer the hatred from the subcontinent to over here.

"The young might cheer on India and Pakistan at cricket, but I don't think they get as wound up about Kashmir as perhaps their less worldly colleagues back home."

Peaceful protest

Paul Beaver of Jane's Defence Weekly believes any protests in Britain on the Kashmir issue will be conducted peacefully.

"They do protest a lot about just about everything but they respect one other and tend to be in different parts of the country as well," he said. "I don't think we'll see anything other than protests.

"If India plays Pakistan that will be very interesting. It would make it a very tight game I'd say. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see more security measures taken."

And Damien Bristow of the Royal Insitute for Defence Studies added: "I don't see fighting in the streets. It will play itself out in other ways."

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