In India, Moslem terrorists perpetrated their second attack in three days,
killing one person and wounding six with a bomb placed inside a fuel tanker
in Jammu. Two days ago, Moslem terrorists massacred 24 Hindus, including
children, in a Kashmiri village. Israel's government released a strong
condemnation of this "heinous act of terrorism," saying that Israel, which
"faces a continuous onslaught of murderous terrorism, calls on every
civilized person and state in the world to join in the uncompromising
struggle against the scourge of terrorism." Arutz-7, Isael, 3-26-2003
India Hits Out at Pakistan; Missile Tests Held
NEW DELHI (Reuters - 26 March 2003) - India called Pakistan the "epicenter of international terrorism" on Wednesday and accused Washington of double standards in leading a war against Iraq while urging restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
It was India's strongest language against Pakistan since the two countries pulled back from the brink of war last year and coincided with tit-for-tat missile tests held by both countries.
The Indian Foreign Ministry blamed Pakistan for an attack by suspected Muslim militants last Sunday on Hindus in Indian Kashmir in which 11 men, 11 women and two children died.
"The epicenter of international terrorism that exists in our neighborhood and the infrastructure of support and sponsorship of cross-border terrorism must be completely dismantled," it said in a written statement.
"We are determined to face this challenge with strength, determination and resolve," it said.
India accuses Pakistan of supporting "cross-border terrorism" by helping militants fighting against Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in mostly Hindu India.
Pakistan says it gives only moral support to the Kashmir "freedom struggle" and has condemned last Sunday's attack.
But New Delhi says Islamabad has reneged on a promise made last year to Washington to curb Islamic militancy.
India had unusually harsh words for Washington, and its decision to use Pakistan as a key ally in its war on terror after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The foreign ministry said the global war on terror could be won only if it was pursued "without double standards and terrorism is eradicated wherever it exists, without being influenced by short-term political and other considerations."
"The combat against international terrorism is ill-served if threats in some cases are met with military means and in others with calls for restraint and dialogue," India said.
Washington, which played a key role in averting war last year between Pakistan and India, condemned Sunday's attack, but renewed a call on both countries to hold talks.
Adding to tensions, India and Pakistan test-fired nuclear-capable, short-range missiles on Wednesday and exchanged fire along the line of control that divides Pakistani and Indian Kashmir.
Pakistan said at least one person was killed and four hurt. Indian army officials said one person was injured in Indian Kashmir.
Washington said it was disappointed at the latest missile tests.
"Such tests contribute to the charged atmosphere and could contribute to a costly and destabilizing nuclear and missile arms race which this already volatile region can ill afford," State Department spokeswoman Amanda Batt said.
"We strongly urge both India and Pakistan to avoid any actions that could increase tensions in the region." India said it had fired the Prithvi missile, seen as intended to target Pakistan, with a range of 90 miles. Pakistan said it tested the surface-to-surface Abdali (Hatf-II) missile, with a range of 110 miles.
India and Pakistan held nuclear tests in 1998 and have since been testing short and long-range nuclear-capable missiles.
Asked if the latest tests would stoke tensions, Pakistan Prime Minister Mian Zafarullah Khan Jamali told reporters: "Well, I hope not. These tests have been continuing and they carry on."
Despite the rhetoric and missile tests, analysts played down the possibility of military action in South Asia.
Uday Bhaskar, from the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyzes, said he thought much of the rhetoric was aimed at Washington after it called on India and Pakistan to talk.
"At this point, I think this is directed more at Washington than anything else. Their exhortation for dialogue at a time when our conditions for dialogue have not been met, I think that seems to have led to this."
But the tensions were expected to dampen sentiment in India's financial markets, already worried by war in Iraq.
"It is a strong statement and will have a negative impact because it has come at a time when markets are already nervous on account of the war," said Amitabha Chakraborty, head of institutional equity, IDBI Capital.