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Restraint call as Pakistan-India tensions mount

India's Vajpayee faces pressure to act unilaterally against terrorists  

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Tension between India and Pakistan is mounting as leaders of the nuclear neighbors exchange words over a suicide attack on parliament in New Delhi.

As the accusations fly, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has urged India to show restraint in the wake of the incident.

Indian police said Sunday that two Pakistani groups, both on a U.S. list of suspected terrorist organizations, were responsible for Thursday's deadly attack on the Indian parliament that left at least 12 people dead, including five Pakistani attackers.

Delhi Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma said the groups involved in the attack were Jaish-e-Mohammed, also blamed for an October attack on the Srinigar state legislature, and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group.

Late Friday, four men were arrested in the strife-torn Indian province of Kashmir in connection with the attack. Asia
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Four people were also arrested in New Delhi.

Two of them remained in custody Sunday, while two others were questioned and released, Sharma said.

The gunmen, armed with AK-47s and explosives, stormed the building Thursday. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Citing international guidelines for curbing terrorism, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh has demanded that the Pakistani government arrest leaders of the militant groups, freeze their assets and put an end to their activities.

The United States said on Sunday that India had the right to defend itself after a suicide attack last week on its Parliament, but urged Indian leaders to tread carefully to avoid an escalation of violence.

"I think the Indian government clearly has a legitimate right of self-defense," Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press, a U.S. television program.

"But I think we have to be very careful in this instance because if in the exercise of that right of self defense we have states going after each other, we could create a ... situation that could spiral out of control," Powell said.

He noted that Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf had immediately condemned the attack.

"Musharraf ... said that he is taking action against the two organizations that have been tentatively identified as terrorist organizations and might have been responsible for this," Powell said.

However, Musharraf on Saturday also threatened to retaliate with force if arch-rival India took any "precipitous action."

India's leader, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is also talking tough.

According to United News of India, Vajpayee told a university gathering in the West Bengal state: "A neighboring country was inspiring the terrorists in carrying out subversive acts in India. The sponsors are destined to doom."

The Associated Press also reported Interior Minister Lal Krishna Advani saying that India's response would be "extraordinary," although the government has not yet outlined the nature of its retaliation.

Pakistan leader General Musharraf has promised to take action  

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence in 1947.

On Saturday Musharraf promised to take action against any Pakistan group if its involvement in this "terrorist act" was proved.

Musharraf complained of a "degree of rhetoric developing from India" over the issue and said "any adventure (against Pakistan) would be met with force."

"I would like to condemn . . . in the strongest terms this terrorist act against Indian parliament," he said on state television. "We are against any such terrorist acts anywhere in the world."

Musharraf warned New Delhi against any "precipitous action by the Indian government against Pakistan. This would lead to very serious repercussions. It must not be done," Reuters news agency reported him as saying.

Many Indian lawmakers, including some from Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party, are demanding that the military cross the frontier in the disputed northern state of Kashmir to carry out attacks similar to the Israeli strikes in Palestinian areas.

They say the parliament attack was the last straw for the nation that has lost 54,000 people to separatist and terrorist violence in five decades.


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