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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Pakistan spurns joint patrol plan
Anti-terrorist protesters in India
Tensions between the two countries remain high
Pakistan has rejected Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's proposal of joint patrols along their disputed Kashmir border.

Given the state of Pakistan-India relations, mechanisms for joint patrolling are unlikely to work

Pakistani Foreign Ministry
Mr Vajpayee wants to combat infiltration by Islamic militants intent on attacking Indian posts and said Pakistan's refusal to take part showed it was not serious about stopping cross-border raids.

But Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spurned the idea, amid tensions over control of Kashmir which have brought the two nuclear powers to the brink of war.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan scolded the leaders for failing to seize opportunities to discuss peace and the US and Britain launched new diplomatic efforts, though Britain increased its warnings to citizens in India.

Fractured relations

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement said the Indian proposal for joint border patrols was "not new".

Enlarge image Enlarge map

"Given the state of Pakistan-India relations, mechanisms for joint patrolling are unlikely to work," it added.

India accuses Pakistan of allowing Islamic militants to cross the border in Kashmir in order to launch attacks on Indian targets.

Pakistan vehemently denies that there is cross-border infiltration and has called again for international monitors to verify the situation.

Lost chance for peace

Mr Vajpayee dismissed the idea of international observers, saying it was not practical because they would not be able to find out where the infiltration was taking place.

Indian soldiers patrol the border
Joint patrols are not a new idea

But he said joint patrols were feasible and Pakistan's rejection of them showed "they do not want verification".

India is adamant that it must be certain no militants are crossing the border before it will engage in talks to resolve the military crisis which has seen more than one million troops massed on the border.

On a visit to Moscow, Mr Annan praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's attempts to defuse the growing tension between the two nuclear states.

"I was amused to hear them say President Putin failed to make peace in Almaty, when the actual situation was that the two leaders failed to seize the opportunity offered by the conference," he said.

Diplomatic force

International pressure is growing on India and Pakistan to step back from the brink of war, with the US also stepping into the fray.

Rising tension:

1 October 2001:
38 killed in attack on the Kashmir assembly in Srinagar
13 December 2001:
14 killed in attack on the Indian parliament building in Delhi
14 May 2002:
More than 30 killed in attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir
21 May 2002:
Moderate Kashmiri politician Abdul Ghani Lone shot dead

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he believed Mr Vajpayee and General Musharraf would realise they had no interest in starting a war.

"The world has an interest - these two countries have an interest in not setting themselves back," he said after a meeting with his British counterpart Geoff Hoon.

Mr Rumsfeld will go to India and Pakistan - though he has said he is not going as a mediator - following the US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who is on his way to the region.

Britain raised it travel alert status for its citizens in India, from advising them to consider leaving to telling them they should go, while also warning others not to go there.

That ties in with current US State Department advice "urging" American citizens to leave India.

Militants killed

The violence in Kashmir has continued with police in the Indian-administered area of Poonch saying at least six Islamic militants were killed in a gun battle.

The police say the dead were members of Lashkar-e-Toyeba and were killed during a raid on a village south of Jammu.

India accuses the group of attacking the country's parliament in Delhi in December which prompted the current military crisis.

At Kashmir's Line of Control, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged heavy fire on Wednesday.

The BBC's Jonathan Charles
"The Indian prime minister clearly wants to be seen as a peacemaker"
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
"Golden peace has remained hostage"
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
"Terrorist camps operate unhindered across our borders"
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See also:

05 Jun 02 | UK Politics
04 Jun 02 | Media reports
03 Jun 02 | South Asia
03 Jun 02 | South Asia
02 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
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