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From the Las Vegas Sun...Pakistan and India conflict

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May 28, 2002

Pakistan Test-Fires Another Missile

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan- Pakistan test-fired a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads into Indian territory on Tuesday, the third and final launch in a series of much-criticized tests. India, in its first response a day after speech by Pakistan's president, called his remarks "disappointing" and "dangerous."

In Islamabad, Britain's foreign secretary opened talks meant to press the nuclear-armed adversaries to the negotiating table.

India's harsh words follow Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf's address to his nation Monday, in which he promised Islamabad would not initiate war, but would defend itself if "war was thrust upon it." He denied cross-border incursions into Indian-controlled Kashmir by Pakistan-based Islamic militants.

In India's first formal reply to Musharraf's speech, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said Tuesday that the Pakistani president's statements on Islamic militant infiltration were disappointing and dangerous.

"Disappointing as it merely repeats some earlier reassurances that remain unfulfilled today," Singh said. "Dangerous because of deliberate posturing, tensions have been added, not reduced."

Musharraf in January gave a landmark speech in which he vowed to halt terrorists operating from Pakistani territory. India claims he has done little to fulfill this pledge and that Pakistan-based Islamic militants continue to cross into Indian-controlled Kashmir.

As the rhetoric between the two sides becomes more and more intense, the international community has pushed for negotiations. The two leaders may meet next month in Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the Council on Cooperation and Confidence Measures in Asia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to mediate one-on-one talks.

Pakistan has already accepted the invitation, agreeing to talk to Vajpayee "anywhere, anytime." India has said it will not hold talks until cross-border attacks stop.

Britain has also sought to ease tension; Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was in Islamabad on Tuesday for a meeting with Musharraf and Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar.

The United States and Britain have urged Musharraf to do more to stop cross-border incursions by Islamic militants. Both nations were also critical of Pakistan's missile tests, saying they could only provoke greater tension.

On Tuesday, Pakistan test-fired a HatfII missile, also known as an Abdali, which flew 108 miles, army officials said. It was the third missile tested by Pakistan since Saturday. All three are capable of carrying nuclear warheads into Indian territory.

Pakistan has defended the tests as routine, saying they had nothing to do with the current crisis in Kashmir. India conducted similar tests in January.

Tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbors became dangerously high after an attack on India's Parliament in December, and were further irritated by an assault on an Indian army base in Kashmir earlier this month. India blamed Islamic militants based in Pakistan. Islamabad denounced both attacks as terrorism and denied any involvement.

Two of the three wars fought by India and Pakistan have been over Kashmir, and the two remain sharply at odds over the region, which is claimed in its entirety by both. There are currently about a million soldiers facing off on either side of the Kashmir frontier.

Residents in Indian-ruled Kashmir said Tuesday they were weary of the decades-old conflict.

"For both (India and Pakistan) we are not their people. We are a mere battlefield for these two countries," said Sajad Bhat, an insurance company executive in Indian Kashmir's capital, Srinagar.

India accuses Pakistan of waging a proxy war by training, arming and funding Islamic militants based in Pakistan and Pakistan's portion of Kashmir, and allowing them or helping them to cross the frontier into Indian territory.

Pakistan has denied supporting the Islamic extremists with money and arms, but says it give "moral" support for what it calls a freedom struggle.

In his speech Monday, Musharraf again denied that cross-border incursions were occurring. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes disputed this Tuesday, saying that al-Qaida and Taliban fighters were operating in Pakistan Kashmir.

A Pakistani army spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, rejected Fernandes' statement as baseless. Pakistan has repeatedly said that the fighters in Kashmir are Kashmiris.

The Bush administration has said al-Qaida and Taliban forces have likely spread across dozens of countries, far from their former headquarters in Afghanistan. U.S. Special Forces troops recently deployed to western Pakistan's tribal belt to help Pakistani troops flush the militants out.

Musharraf said Pakistan has taken "bold steps" against Islamic militants, referring a January ban on five Islamic militant groups. He said the same people who carried out the "terrorist" assaults in India last December and again earlier this month, were responsible for violence in Pakistan, including an attack on a church frequented by foreigners and the bombing of a bus carrying French engineers.

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Originally posted by nycmuzik2000

Lets hope this gets resolved in a peaceful manner because the US will get drawn into this if it ever comes to war....:(

as usual....

I dont think there can be a peaceful agreement..they have been fighting over Kashmir forever...

why is everything always about land?

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Originally posted by fierydesire

why is everything always about land?

There's no simple answer to that. But it IS a deep rift that cuts deep into each nation, both culturally and historically.

Think, what do Pakistan and India have to prove. They are both 3rd world nations, and don't have much going on. They seem to be hyping this up just to say "Don't mess with me, im a superpower and i've got nukes"

It seems like there is no easy solution. I say give it to Nepal :D

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Originally posted by fierydesire

as usual....

I dont think there can be a peaceful agreement..they have been fighting over Kashmir forever...

why is everything always about land?

because land equals money and profit...that's why

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Originally posted by bigpoppanils

but whats profitable about the Kashmir? most of it is a barren mountain range

natural resources....can be found there, it's not completely barren...and like fiery said, it's one of the most beautiful regions in that area...

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