- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's quick visit to India and Pakistan this week failed to calm their volatile border, which erupted with fresh fighting and threats of suicide attacks on Indian cities yesterday.
The Pakistani-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization and blamed by India for an Oct. 1 bombing of the Kashmir state legislature that killed 40 persons said it would attack to answer Indian shelling on the eve of Mr. Powell's visit to Pakistan Monday.
"Besides intensifying suicide attacks against army installations, the group has also decided to carry out such attacks in Bombay, New Delhi, [the northern state of] Uttar Pradesh and other nerve centers within India," Jaish-e-Mohammed said in a statement carried by the Urdu daily al-Safa.
The failure to stem violence over disputed Kashmir dealt a blow to U.S. efforts to use Pakistan as a launching pad for its war on terrorism in Afghanistan, which is sheltering a Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Powell urged both sides to calm the fighting along the Line of Control dividing Kashmir.
"In my talks both here and in Pakistan, I have encouraged the leaders in both nations to continue their dialogue and to take steps to reduce tension between them," Mr. Powell said Wednesday in New Delhi, before leaving for an Asia-Pacific summit in Shanghai.
But both sides while backing the U.S. war on terrorism have been reluctant to end their violent dispute over Kashmir.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, having defied his country's Islamic militant supporters of bin Laden and the Afghan Taliban to join the U.S. war on terrorism, cannot risk curbing the militants fighting to free Kashmir from India, analysts said.
"I'm not sure he'll be able to open a new front now he may have to buy some more time and let things cool down," said Nisar Chaudhry, president of the Pakistan American Congress, who has close contacts with the Pakistani leadership.
Indian officials have worried that improved U.S.-Pakistani relations since the Sept. 11 attacks on America could torpedo the recent improvement in U.S.-Indian relations frozen during the Cold War.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar said in an interview by phone from Islamabad yesterday that he welcomed U.S. involvement in the Kashmir dispute and that Indian fears of a revitalized friendship with Washington reflected Indian "hostility."
"If that's their analysis, it's based on their enmity," said Mr. Sattar.
Gen. Musharraf has pledged cooperation on intelligence, logistics and the use of airspace to U.S. forces attacking Afghanistan and has "burned his bridges" to militant Pakistanis by using police and paramilitary forces to suppress anti-American demonstrations, said one analyst.
Since Pakistan's decision to cooperate with the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has dropped economic and other sanctions and is sending a State Department team in the next week or two to review foreign aid, Pakistan's $3 billion in debt to the United States and possible loans to stimulate trade, said Mr. Sattar and U.S. officials.
"We have some indications the U.S. will provide $500 million in grant assistance," Mr. Sattar said.
Mr. Sattar also dismissed Indian fears that renewed U.S. military aid to Pakistan would end up being used against India.
"The weapons used by militants in Kashmir are all small caliber and not purchased from the United States," he said.
Mr. Sattar repeated that Pakistan wants the mainly Muslim people of Kashmir to be allowed to decide their future. "I don't see how India can rule these people against their will in the 21st century," he said.
Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said Wednesday after meeting with Mr. Powell that India's relations with the United States are not dependent on Pakistan.
He said improved relations with Pakistan "will come, be assured."
"We cannot push the pace of it. Nobody can push the pace of it," he said.

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