Tags: Heavy | Fighting | Along | Line | Control

Heavy Fighting Along Line of Control

Thursday, 30 May 2002 12:00 AM

The reports of fighting in Kashmir, which is at the center of the dispute between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947, has once again ignited fears of war between the two nuclear rivals.

"Retaliating to unprovoked shelling by the Indian forces in Poonch district, our troops have caused heavy damage to the enemy," said an official statement issued in Islamabad.

"We have killed or wounded at least 15 Indian soldiers and destroyed six bunkers," it added.

The statement also accused India of targeting "civilian populations, killing seven villagers in Hajira sector of the southern Poonch district."

Pakistan also asserted that its forces hit a number of Indian vehicles carrying ammunition in Rakh Chikri sub-sector of Poonch. "The blaze could be seen across the line of control as well," the statement said.

Media reports in India spoke of killing at least 12 Pakistani soldiers in the same area and said that Indian artillery had destroyed part of the headquarters of 15th Northern Light Infantry of the Pakistani Army. The Battalion Headquarters could be seen on fire, it added. Earlier, at least five civilians were killed on the Indian side of border in Pakistani mortar shelling in the Poonch area, the report said.

Heavy cross-border firing in Kashmir has been reported since Wednesday, as the region appears to be inching toward a military conflict.

On Wednesday, President Pervez Musharraf warned that if India attacked Pakistan, "war would be fought in the enemy's territory."

Musharraf's warning comes amid increasing tensions on the subcontinent where India and Pakistan have deployed more than a million troops along their border. They also have nuclear-capable missiles, stirring fears of a possible atomic conflict in one of the world's most populous regions.

"Our defense forces are fully prepared to fend off any aggression from across the borders," said the Pakistani president while addressing soldiers at an air force base.

"And if a war is thrust on us, it will be fought in the enemy's territory," he said.

The tough talk comes two days after his televised speech in which Musharraf blamed India for wanting to attack Pakistan and appealed for national unity to face the Indian threat.

But political analysts in Islamabad said most of Musharraf's rhetoric is aimed at the audience at home where he is accused of being too soft on India.

Since Dec. 13, when a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament brought the troops to the border, Musharraf had made several conciliatory gestures to India, urging New Delhi to resume bilateral talks.

His attitude changed after India alerted its troops "for a decisive war" following another terrorist attack on an army camp on May 14. At least 32 people -- mostly women and children -- were killed in the attack, causing a wave of resentment across India.

As tensions increased, Pakistan tested a string of nuclear-capable missiles, causing alarm across the world.

And on Wednesday, Musharraf warned that Pakistan has the capability of "taking war into India" if attacked.

"Any incursion by the Indian forces across the line of control even by an inch will unleash a storm that will sweep the enemy," he said.

The line of control divides disputed Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Claimed by both sides since 1947, disputes over Kashmir have already caused two wars and countless border clashes between the two neighbors.

Combining his rhetoric with diplomacy, Musharraf also has decided to dispatch five special envoys to the United States, Europe and the Middle East to explain Pakistan's position, said an official statement Thursday.

The envoys include a former president, a former chairman of the Senate, a former army chief and Pakistan's former ambassador to India, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi.

India expelled Qazi last week following the May 14 terrorist attack on the Indian army camp.

Despite rising tensions, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who was in Islamabad on Tuesday and is now in New Delhi, said he hoped that reason would prevail and there would be no war.

He told a news conference in New Delhi that he believed Musharraf was "genuine" in his commitment to curbing terrorism but urged him to match his words "with action on the ground" and stop cross-border infiltrations into Kashmir.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

All rights reserved.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
The reports of fighting in Kashmir, which is at the center of the dispute between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947, has once again ignited fears of war between the two nuclear rivals. Retaliating to unprovoked shelling by the Indian forces in Poonch...
Heavy,Fighting,Along,Line,Control
709
2002-00-30
Thursday, 30 May 2002 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved