NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- India's foreign minister said Wednesday that Pakistan must take urgent steps to halt cross-border terrorism and rein in Islamic insurgents in Kashmir.
Jaswant Singh said that Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf had been given enough time to fulfill his pledges to halt terrorism by militants operating from Pakistani soil.
"It is vital that he recognizes the urgency of the situation," Singh told reporters at a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. "India has waited patiently for the fulfillment of those commitments, which are vital for peace."
Pakistan denies arming or funding the militants, saying it only provides them with "moral" support.
Pakistan's state TV quoted Musharraf as telling air force officers on Wednesday that, "India has created a dangerous situation in the region and the defense forces were ready to face any challenge if war was thrust upon us."
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Himalayan province since independence from Britain in 1947.
They now seem to be on the brink of yet another war, having placed one million troops along their border since India blamed Pakistan for a militant attack on its Parliament in December.
Relations were further strained two weeks ago after an assault on an Indian army base in Kashmir killed 34 people.
Cross-border firing resumed Wednesday killing at at least 11 civilians, six of them in Dras, 150 miles north of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's northwestern Jammu-Kashmu state.
On the Pakistan side, an army spokesman said artillery and mortar duels along the frontier near Sialkot killed 5 civilians, injured 7 others and sent hundreds of residents fleeing for safety.
India also has moved ships into the Arabian Sea, closer to Pakistan, both armies have deployed missiles, and Pakistan completed three days of tests on Tuesday of nuclear-capable missiles that can reach inside India.
After a NATO luncheon in Italy, Secretary-General Lord Robertson said President Bush, Putin and 18 other alliance leaders "share a deep common concern" about the crisis and urged India and Pakistan "to de-escalate and resume talking together."
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan called Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday, a day after he phoned Musharraf. Koizumi appealed for "the utmost diplomatic efforts" to defuse tension, his spokeswoman said.
Singh warned Tuesday that American forces in Pakistan were not a deterrent to a possible attack, but restated India's policy that it would not strike first with nuclear weapons.
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