November 22, 2002

India, Pakistan Trade Fire After Musharraf Speech

India and Pakistan traded fire in disputed Kashmir late Monday after Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said Islamabad was ready to respond with full force if attacked.

Tough comments by the Pakistani leader in a national television address risked aggravating tensions with India in a face-off between the nuclear armed foes over Kashmir.

"Pakistan does not want war. Pakistan will not be the one to initiate war," Musharraf said.

But he added that "if war is thrust upon us we would respond with full might."

An Indian defense official said Indian and Pakistani troops traded moderate to heavy artillery, mortar and machinegun fire at various points along the tense 1,010 km (630-mile) Line of Control separating the two sides in the Kashmir region.

"Due to Pakistani firing, three civilians including a woman were injured," the official said.

The official said the two sides also traded intermittent small arms fire along the 140-mile international border dividing the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani province of Punjab.

In Pakistan, local residents and officials said six Pakistanis were killed when Indian troops fired mortars at villages across the border into Punjab province.

In his live television address, Musharraf repeated his condemnation of what he called "terrorist attacks" on India's parliament and an Indian army base in mostly Muslim Kashmir, which New Delhi blames on infiltrators from Pakistan.

But he also expressed support for the "liberation movement" in the Indian-ruled part of Kashmir and condemned Indian "tyranny and repression."

Pakistan's military president insisted there was no infiltration across the line which divides Kashmir. He also said he would not let Pakistan be used as a base for terrorism.

(China Daily May 28, 2002)

In This Series
Pakistan Speaks to Defuse Tension

Pakistan Tests Second Missile, India Boosts Defense

Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile

India Talks of War, World Watches Warily


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