News

DATE=6/30/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-43767 TITLE=PAK / KASHMIR BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: AS INDIA'S MILITARY CONTINUES ITS CAMPAIGN TO EXPEL INSURGENTS FROM STRATEGIC MOUNTAIN-TOP POSITIONS IN KASHMIR, BEHIND-THE-SCENES DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS HAVE BEEN IN PROGRESS TO KEEP THE SUB-CONTINENT FROM ALL-OUT WAR. AS CORRESPONDENT SCOTT ANGER REPORTS, PAKISTAN SAYS IT HOPES TO FIND A PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO THE CRISIS, WHICH HAS LED TO THE MOST SERIOUS CRISIS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES IN 30 YEARS AND FEARS OF AN ALL-OUT WAR IN THE REGION. TEXT: WESTERN COUNTRIES, LED BY THE UNITED STATES, HAVE STEPPED UP PRESSURE ON PAKISTAN TO RESOLVE ITS DISPUTE WITH INDIA OVER KASHMIR. OFFICIAL-LEVEL TALKS ARE DEADLOCKED BECAUSE INDIA IS BLAMING PAKISTAN FOR STARTING THE CURRENT CRISIS. INDIA HAS SAYS NO NEGOTIATIONS WILL BE HELD UNTIL THE ARMED INSURGENTS ARE WITHDRAWN BY PAKISTAN FROM INDIAN KASHMIR. THOUGH EACH SIDE CONTINUES TO TALK TOUGH, THE TWO COUNTRIES HAVE QUIETLY STARTED DIALOGUE AIMED AT RESOLVING THE SITUATION. PAKISTAN'S FORMER FOREIGN SECRETARY, NIAZ NAIK, HAS HELD UNOFFICIAL MEETINGS IN NEW DELHI WITH INDIAN PRIME MINSTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE AND OTHER HIGH LEVEL OFFICIALS. THE MESSAGE HE CARRIED TO INDIA HAS BEEN THE SAME SINCE TENSIONS BEGAN TO ESCALATE IN EARLY MAY -- THAT PAKISTAN IS WILLING TO SIT DOWN AND RESOLVE THE LONG-STANDING DISPUTE OVER KASHMIR. PAKISTAN'S DIPLOMATIC MISSION TO NEW DELHI FOLLOWS A SIMILAR ONE BY INDIAN OFFICIALS TO ISLAMABAD. THE CURRENT CRISIS OVER KASHMIR BEGAN OVER TWO MONTHS AGO WHEN ARMED MUSLIM INSURGENTS OCCUPIED STRATEGIC MOUNTAIN-TOP POSITIONS IN INDIAN KASHMIR. INDIA'S MILITARY RESPONDED WITH MASSIVE GROUND AND AIR ATTACKS IN AN EFFORT TO DRIVE THE INTRUDERS FROM ITS TERRITORY. WESTERN DIPLOMATS SAY THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT PAKISTAN IS GIVING SOME SUPORT TO THE INSURGENTS. THEY SAY SPY SATELLITE PHOTOGRAPHS SHOW PAKISTAN'S INVOLVEMENT -- BUT THEY ARE RELUCTANT TO DISCUSS THE EXTENT OF THE PAKISTANI SUPPORT. EVER SINCE THE INDIAN ARMY BEGAN OPERATIONS AGAINST THE INSURGENTS, PAKISTAN HAS MAINTAINED THAT IT HAS NO CONTROL OVER THE GROUPS, WHO IT SAYS ARE INDIGENOUS FREEDOM FIGHTERS HOPING TO FREE KASHMIR FROM INDIAN RULE. PAKISTAN ALSO SAYS THAT THE LINE OF CONTROL IS NOT WELL DEFINED IN THE RUGGED MOUNTAINS OF KASHMIR. EVEN SO, IT INSISTS THAT NONE OF ITS TROOPS HAVE ENTERED INDIAN TERRITORY. PAKISTAN HAS HOPED THE SITUATION WOULD LEAD TO THIRD-PARTY MEDIATION AND AN EVENTUAL SOLUTION TO THE 50-YEAR DISPUTE. BUT INDIA, WHICH CONTROLS TWO-THIRDS OF KASHMIR, REJECTS ANY OUTSIDE MEDIATION AND SAYS THE MATTER SHOULD BE SETTLED THROUGH BI-LATERAL NEGOTIATIONS. PAKISTAN AND INDIA HAVE FOUGHT TWO WARS OVER KASHMIR SINCE BRITISH RULE ENDED ON THE SUB-CONTINENT IN 1947. THE TWO COUNTRIES ARE THE WORLD'S NEWEST NUCLEAR POWERS, WHICH HAS RAISED FEARS THAT A CONVENTIONAL WAR COULD ESCALATE INTO A NUCLEAR EXCHANGE. (SIGNED) NEB/SA/LTD/KL 30-Jun-99 11:44 AM EDT (1544 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .