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By Anjana Pasricha
27 December 2008
India and Pakistan say they do not want war, as tension mounts between them. There has been a sharp deterioration in ties between the South Asian neighbors following last month's terror strikes in Mumbai, which India blames on Islamic militants based in Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said Saturday that Islamabad does not want war with India, but is prepared to defend itself from aggression.
|Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (File)|
Mr. Gilani said, "Only if someone acts, we will react. We will not take any action on our own." He said Pakistan wants friendly relations with its neighbor.
His comment came a day after Pakistani officials said that the military has moved some troops from the western border with Afghanistan to the eastern frontier with India.
Tension has mounted between the two countries since the reported troop movement.
In New Delhi, Indian leaders urged Pakistan not to create what they termed "war hysteria."
India's junior foreign minister, Anand Sharma, said the government wants Islamabad to crack down on Pakistani-based terror groups, which New Delhi blames for last month's terror strikes in Mumbai.
"The war mongering by Pakistan is unwarranted and irresponsible. Instead of indulging in this and creating tension in the subcontinent, it would be in the interest of the region and in Pakistan's own interest to take action against the two organizations which have been named, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamat-ud-Dawa," he said.
Pakistan says India has offered no evidence that the attacks in Mumbai were conducted by anyone in the country.
The Mumbai attacks, in which at least 170 people were killed, have brought old hostilities between the two countries into sharp focus.
While Pakistan has canceled leave for army personnel, New Delhi has advised its citizens to avoid traveling to Pakistan, saying it was unsafe for them to be in the neighboring country. The Indian Prime Minister also held a strategy meeting with the country's defense chiefs on Friday.
The international community is trying to calm the situation between the nuclear armed neighbors. The United States has urged both countries to avoid escalating tensions. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from Britain.