ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, AP
A top Indian official said Saturday there is no end in sight to tensions with Pakistan as the nuclear-armed neighbors traded deadly shelling and allegations of spying. The exodus of foreigners picked up steam with the United Nations and France warning about the prospect of war.
Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said nuclear conflict was unthinkable, but concern still mounted about a broader military conflict as neither country was offering a diplomatic solution to end their long dispute over Kashmir, the spark for two of their three wars.
�There is still no coming closer in sight,?Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said on the sidelines of a regional security conference in Singapore. Asked if military officials of the two countries might meet, he said: �I don�t think there is any such possibility.? Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee are to attend a regional summit next week in Kazakhstan, but while the Pakistani leader has said he is willing to talk with his rival, India has demanded that Pakistan first stop cross-border incursions by Islamic militants blamed by New Delhi for two major terrorist attacks over the last six months.
The attacks ratcheted up tensions over Kashmir and has led to a buildup along frontier, where more than a million troops have been deployed. Cross-border shelling Saturday killed three civilians in India and two in Pakistan, according to official reports.
A grenade attack by suspected Islamic militants also killed a 14-year-old boy and injured 16 people, including two soldiers, in Srinagar, the summer capital of India�s Jammu-Kashmir state, while a gunfight between Indian paramilitary forces and guerrillas in Nihalpora, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) to the north, killed one militant and a teenage boy who was caught in the cross fire, Indian officials said.
In an interview with the Cable News Network, Musharraf said Pakistan has called for a no-war pact with India and the denuclearization of South Asia.
�I don�t think either side is that irresponsible to go to that limit,?Musharraf said. �I would even go to the extent of saying one shouldn�t even be discussing these things, because any sane individual cannot even think of going into this unconventional war, whatever the pressures.?