Indian PM Speaks to Pakistani President Musharraf

Published October 8th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee spoke to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf over the telephone in the aftermath of the US-led attacks on Afghanistan, Star TV reported Monday. 

According to sources, the conversation centered on increasing cooperation between the two countries for combating terrorism. 

The conversation between the two leaders was the first since the September 11 terror attacks in United States. 

Both India and Pakistan have pledged their support to the US-led coalition waging war on terrorism. 

However, earlier in the day Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh had strongly criticized "cross-border terrorism" in Indian-controlled Kashmir which in the past it has said is being backed by Pakistan. 

Pakistan denies the Indian charge of lending support to militant groups fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir. 

India also said the insurgency in Kashmir, where more than 35,000 people have been killed since 1989, cannot be described as a freedom struggle. 

A summit in July between Vajpayee and Musharraf in the Taj Mahal city of Agra broke down earlier this summer over the Kashmir issue. 

"There can be no compromise with terrorism in any form. Terrorism in terrorism, whatever form it takes," Singh told reporters after an unscheduled meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security which was called by prime minister Vajpayee. 

"We do hope and expect that normalcy in order will be restored in Pakistan," Jaswant Singh said in response to queries about anti-government demonstrations in Pakistan following the US-led strikes in Afghanistan. 

India Monday voiced its support for the US action in Afghanistan, but there were fears that it could spark further terrorist attacks in India. 

"India at the outset had expressed its strong solidarity and support for action contemplated by the US," a foreign ministry spokeswoman said. 

She said India had articulated its concerns about "cross-border terrorism" in Kashmir as "the world is far more sensitized to it". 

"We are very confident that the government of the US is sensitive to our concerns." 

India has made an open offer to provide logistical support to US operations, but New Delhi on Monday said Washington had not used local airspace during the air raids. 

"As far as I know, in the first wave of attacks neither our airspace was used, nor was any request received for refueling or landing facilities," junior foreign minister Omar Abdullah here said -- NEW DELHI (AFP)

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