Mon, May 20, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Support for action against Pakistan growing in India


India's prime minister met the opposition leader yesterday amid growing political support for diplomatic and military action against Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for terrorism, as violence killed five people in Kashmir and cross-border shooting persisted.

Suspected Islamic guerrillas fired at an Indian army-paramilitary camp about 150km north of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu-Kashmir state, killing four soldiers and wounding 12, state police spokesman Subhash Raina said. One of the attackers was killed, he said.

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh called it a "terrorist attack."

Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani forces fired at each other across the border overnight. Three civilians were wounded in the Indian border village of Garkhal, an army official in Jammu said on condition of anonymity.

Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors has increased since an attack on another Indian base in Kashmir killed 34 people on Tuesday, most of them wives and children of soldiers. India blamed the attack on militants based in Pakistan

India expelled Pakistan's ambassador Saturday, escalating diplomatic tension as cross-border shelling between the rivals forced thousands of villagers to flee their homes.

Yesterday Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his foreign and interior ministers met with Sonia Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress party, which has backed the expulsion of Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Pakistan's high commissioner.

"This is a necessary diplomatic step. We extend full support to it," Congress party spokesman Jaipal Reddy told the private Star News channel.

Qazi said Pakistan was not behind Tuesday's attack in Kashmir.

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