India Warns Pakistan against Derailing Peace Process in Kashmir
India charged Pakistan on Wednesday with trying to destroy prospects for peace in Kashmir, one day after New Delhi launched a ceasefire initiative in the region.
"The government is resolved to defeat such attempts," Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh told members of India's lower house of parliament.
Singh said the unilateral ceasefire, which came into force midnight Monday was part of India's efforts to normalize the situation in Kashmir.
Under the ceasefire, Indian security forces have been instructed not to initiate combat operations against militants in the state during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
The government is willing to hold talks with all those who are prepared for a dialogue "in keeping with the strong desire of the people of the state for peace," the minister said.
Singh said India had managed to raise international awareness of Pakistan's support for Muslim militant groups fighting in Kashmir.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the Muslim guerrillas of Kashmir, a charge which Islamabad denies.
On the first full day of the ceasefire Tuesday, 12 people, including five soldiers were killed in separatist-linked violence.
The Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, whose headquarters are in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for blowing up three soldiers in a landmine attack.
On Monday, Home Minister L.K. Advani had called on Pakistan to stop sending militants across the disputed Kashmir border with India, to shut down militant training camps in Pakistan and cease providing the separatists with arms and explosives.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir.
This is the first time the Indian government has implemented a unilateral ceasefire in Muslim-majority Kashmir since the launch in 1989 of the separatist insurgency that has claimed some 34,000 lives.
In the past, militant-initiated cease-fires in Kashmir have heralded sustained phases of violence by hardline separatist groups opposed to any deals with New Delhi -- NEW DELHI (AFP)
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