NEW DELHI, AP
India’s premier vowed Saturday to put down with “force and determination” Kashmiri rebel groups crossing over to Indian territory from Pakistan to stage attacks. But unlike his predecessors, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh didn’t accuse rival Pakistan of backing the militants. He is likely to meet with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session next month.
“Cross-border terrorism continues to pose a serious challenge in Jammu-Kashmir. We shall meet this challenge with force and determination,” Singh said in a speech Saturday. He didn’t elaborate.
India and Pakistan both claim the Himalayan region of Kashmir in its entirety, and have fought two of their three wars over the territory since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
India has previously accused Pakistan of arming and training rebel groups, and pushing them into Indian-held Kashmir to attack government forces and targets, a charge Pakistan denies.
Earlier in the week, India’s army chief said suspected Islamic militants were attempting to enter the Indian portion of Kashmir from Pakistani territory in growing numbers.
India’s and Pakistan’s foreign ministers are expected to discuss Kashmir when they meet in New Delhi early next month to review progress made following a series of talks between the two countries this year.