Voters in Indian-controlled Kashmir turned out in moderate numbers for the first round of a state election Monday, defying threats of violence from separatist militants protesting Indian rule in the region long disputed by India and Pakistan.
Despite recent efforts to ease tensions between nuclear-capable rivals India and Pakistan, twelve people were killed last night during clashes within the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir. Nine of those killed were separatist militants.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday he had evidence that al-Qaida militants are operating in the disputed province of Kashmir, adding another complication to already tense relations between India and Pakistan.
Attempts to spur a meeting between Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee continued to flounder Tuesday as tensions over the disputed Kashmir region remained high.
Following a weekend of missile tests and tough talk, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Monday that his nation would not start a war with neighboring India, but would respond with "full might" should India launch an attack.
As nearly one million Indian and Pakistani troops continued to mass along the border and near the disputed region of Kashmir, India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee rallied his troops to be ready for war.
India and Pakistan exchanged heavy mortar and machinegun fire along their border and in the disputed Kashmir province Tuesday, as a key Kashmiri separatist was gunned down.
Escalating separatist violence in India's Kashmir has killed at least 10 people and injured 22 others in explosions and gunfights over the past 24 hours.
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