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Europe

A Tale of Two Countries

Tensions are rising dangerously between India and Pakistan after last week’s attack on the Indian parliament. While India vows to solve the conflict with diplomacy, troops are building up on the countries‘ border.

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India accuses Pakistani militants of carrying out the Delhi attack

Tensions in India have escalated since a suicide raid that led to the deaths of 13 people in the Indian parliament last Thursday.

India has blamed Pakistan for supporting Kashmir militants thought to be behind last week’s attack and has called for Islamabad to crack down on Kashmir terrorist groups based in Pakistan.

But Pakistan has rejected the charges and refuses to act against any individual or group without evidence.

Three people have been arrested so far, accused of terrorist activities in support of the separatist movement in the disputed northern state of Kashmir. Pakistan has rejected Indian accusations, calling them preposterous.

The suicide raid was the centre of a heated debate in the Indian parliament on Tuesday, while demonstrators, including Hindu radicals, protested near the Parliament complex, burning the Pakistani flag.

And an Indian army spokesman has confirmed fighting between Indian and Pakistani troops across the border in the disputed northern region of Kashmir.

The fighting took place about 400 kilometers southwest of the Kashmiri capital Shrinagar.

Pakistan‘s foreign minister Abdul Sattar said his country was taking India's indirect threats of military action seriously and that his country might have no choice but to defend itself. But

India’s Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee vowed on Wednesday to prevent a war with Pakistan, saying India would try diplomacy first in ist attempt to make Pakistan act against Islamic militiants blamed for the attack on India’s parliament.

However, Vajpayee did not rule out other options. "We are trying to use diplomacy as a weapon but other options are open and we will consider them carefully before taking any decision", he said.

Vajpayee rejected an offer by Pakistan to jointly investigate last week’s raid on the Indian parliament on Tuesday, a request Vajpayee emphasized in his speech to parliament today. "All the five terrorists who were killed were Pakistanis. Is it not proof enough? There is no need for a joint probe", he said.

India arrested four people in an nationwide hunt for those linked to the attack on Tuesday.

As tension between the two countries rises, fear in the region is spreading of India launching retaliatory strikes on Kashmiri militants, action which could lead to a further war between the two powers.

India and Pakistan have already fought three wars since the two countries won independance from Britian in 1947 – two of them were over Kashmir.

Today, both countries posess nuclear weapons.