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DATE=07/13/99 TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP NUMBER=6-1137 TITLE=INDIA AND PAKISTAN COOL KASHMIRI BORDER DISPUTE BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE TELEPHONE=619-3335 DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS CONTENT= INTRO: THE UNITED STATES PRESS IS PRAISING THE LESSENING OF TENSIONS BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN OVER KASHMIR. REPORTS FROM THE SCENE SUGGEST ISLAMIC MILITANTS ARE CONTINUING TO WITHDRAW FROM MOUNTAINS OVERLOOKING INDIAN-CONTROLLED TERRITORY, AND INDIAN TROOPS ARE BEGINNING TO TAKE OVER THE VACATED POSITIONS. THE INCURSION, MORE THAN A MONTH AGO, BY ISLAMIC GUERRILLAS INTO PORTIONS OF INDIAN KASHMIR SET OFF FIGHTING BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES THAT THREATENED TO ESCALATE INTO A FULL SCALE WAR, POSSIBLY WITH NUCLEAR EXCHANGES. THE DE-ESCALATION OF THE CONFLICT IS DRAWING PRAISE IN THE U-S PRESS, AS WE HEAR FROM _________________ IN TODAY'S OPINION ROUNDUP. TEXT: AS MIDWEEK APPROACHED, THE PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF IS SAYING HE HAS TAKEN COURAGEOUS STEPS TO AVOID A DANGEROUS WAR IN SOUTH ASIA AND SUGGESTS IT IS NOW INDIA'S TURN TO ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSE OF TENSION BETWEEN THE TWO NEIGHBORS. HE IS ALSO CALLING ON THE WORLD COMMUNITY TO HONOR ITS COMMITMENT TO RESOLVE THE KASHMIR PROBLEM. KASHMIR IS THE ONE INDIAN PROVINCE THAT IS POPULATED BY A MAJORITY OF MUSLIMS, WHILE IN THE REST OF INDIA, MUSLIMS ARE A LARGE MINORITY. PAKISTAN IS ALMOST TOTALLY A MUSLIM NATION, AND THE TWO COUNTRIES HAVE FOUGHT THREE WARS SINCE THE PARTITION OF BRITISH INDIA AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR, TWO OF THEM DIRECTLY OVER CONTROL OF KASHMIR. FOR YEARS, GROUPS OF KASHMIRIS HAVE AGITATED AGAINST INDIAN RULE, AND LET IT BE KNOWN THEY WISHED ANNEXATION BY PAKISTAN. THE LATEST INCIDENT ALONG THE BORDER BEGAN IN MAY WHEN A GROUP OF ISLAMIC GUERRILLAS INFILTRATED INDIAN-CONTROLLED TERRITORY HIGH IN THE HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS, AND BEGAN FIRING AT ROAD TRAFFIC BELOW. THE U-S PRESS IN GENERAL, AND "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE" IN PARTICULAR, IS PLEASED AT THE LATEST TURN OF EVENTS. VOICE: THE WORLD CAN SLEEP A BIT EASIER TONIGHT AS THE THREAT OF FULL-SCALE WAR -- AND THE POSSIBILITY OF NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST -- SUBSIDES IN SOUTH ASIA. AFTER TWO-MONTHS OF FIGHTING IN .... KASHMIR, INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE AGREED TO A TRUCE OF SORTS. ... AFTER MEETING LAST WEEK WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PROMISING 'CONCRETE STEPS' TO END THE CONFLICT, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF INDUCED AT LEAST SOME OF THE ISLAMIC GUERRILLAS TO WITHDRAW FROM THE BORDER WITH INDIA -- THOUGH INDIA SAYS THEY WERE MERELY RETREATING AFTER BEING ROUTED ON THE BATTLEFIELD. [MR.] SHARIF MAY NOT GET COOPERATION FROM ALL THE 'FREEDOM FIGHTERS,' SOME OF WHOM VOW DEFIANCE. BUT IF PAKISTAN HAS BEEN PROVIDING THEM MEN AND MATERIAL SUPPORT, AS IS GENERALLY BELIEVED, IT CAN PROBABLY GET MOST OF WHAT IT WANTS. ... PRESIDENT CLINTON PROMISED [MR.] SHARIF HE WILL TAKE A PERSONAL INTEREST IN KASHMIR, BUT INDIA'S DISTRUST OF THE UNITED STATES SUGGESTS THAT PRIMARY LEADERSHIP WILL HAVE TO COME FROM OTHER MAJOR POWERS OR FROM THE UNITED NATIONS. IT IT DOES NOT COME FROM SOMEWHERE, THE NEXT CRISIS IN KASHMIR MAY HAVE A MUCH GRIMMER ENDING. TEXT: ON LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK, "NEWSDAY" PLEADS WITH BOTH SIDES, IN ITS EDITORIAL HEADLINE: "DO NOT PUSH [THE] WORLD TO [THE] BRING AGAIN OVER KASHMIR. VOICE: INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE MANAGED TO PULL BACK FROM THE BRINK OF ALL-OUT WAR OVER KASHMIR, IN WHAT COULD HAVE BECOME A DISASTROUS CONFRONTATION BETWEEN THE WORLD'S NEWEST NUCLEAR POWERS. THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, AND THE REST OF ASIA ALONG WITH IT, CAN NOW DRAW A CAUTIOUS SIGH OF RELIEF. WHAT'S NEEDED NEXT, AFTER CALM HAS FULLY RETURNED, IS TALKS TO NEGOTIATE THE FUTURE OF THIS TURBULENT REGION AND PREVENT THE RECURRENCE OF ANOTHER ETHNIC-RELIGIOUS WAR OVER KASHMIR /// OPT /// ... JUST AS URGENTLY NEEDED WILL BE THE OPENING OF REGIONAL DIALOGUES AMONG ASIAN AND PACIFIC POWERS -- WITH CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES INTIMATELY INVOLVED -- ON LIMITING THE DANGERS POSED BY NUCLEAR ESCALATION AND A MISSILE RACE IN THIS VOLATILE PART OF THE GLOBE. /// END OPT /// TEXT: "THE [CLEVELAND,OHIO] PLAIN DEALER" RAN THIS COLUMN BY INDEPENDENT FOREIGN AFFAIRS WRITER JONATHAN POWER FROM LONDON, JUST BEFORE THE PULLBACK BEGAN. VOICE: THE IDEA THAT THE DECISION TO GO TO WAR OR NOT TO, TO PULL THE NUCLEAR TRIGGER OR TO ABSTAIN, LIES WITH SHADOW FIGURES NEITHER ELECTED NOR IN PUBLIC POLITICAL OFFICE IS THE MOST DISTURBING OF ALL THE ELEMENTS IN THIS LATEST CONFRONTATION IN KASHMIR. IF NORMAL CHANNELS OF AUTHORITY, NORMAL CHAINS OF COMMAND AND THE NORMAL DISCIPLINES OF NUCLEAR ACTORS ARE NO LONGER GERMANE IN THIS HIGHLY CHARGED SITUATION WHAT CAN THE REST OF THE WORLD DO? CAN IT SIT BACK AND TRUST INDIA AND PAKISTAN SIMPLY TO SOBER UP? THAT IS TO TAKE AN ENORMOUS GAMBLE. TEXT: IN ANOTHER COMMENTARY WRITTEN, JUST BEFORE THE SITUATION EASED, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" SUGGESTS THAT BOTH NATIONS MAY HAVE GAINED SOMETHING IN THIS LATEST CONFRONTATION, AS LONG AS WAR IS AVERTED. VOICE: ISLAMABAD CAN CLAIM TO HAVE DRAWN THE WORLD'S ATTENTION AGAIN TO KASHMIR. INDIA HAS INDICATED WILLINGNESS TO TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE OF KASHMIR, BUT ONLY AFTER THE GUERRILLAS WITHDRAW. ... CONTINUING THE FIGHT JEOPARDIZES PAKISTAN AT LEAST AS MUCH AS INDIA. TEXT: LASTLY, INDIAN POLITICAL COLUMNIST RANJAN GUPTA, WRITING THIS WEEK [7/13] IN "THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE" IS CONCERNED AT THE ONE-SIDED NATURE OF THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN PRESIDENT CLINTON AND THE PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER NEWAZ SHARIF, THAT IS SO FAR DEFUSING THE TENSION. VOICE: THE U-S-PAKISTAN AGREEMENT IN THE KASHMIR CONFLICT MAY BE A CASE OF TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. ... INDIA IS NOT A PARTY TO THE U-S-PAKISTAN TALKS. ... SECOND, THE PACT CALLS INTO QUESTION HOW MUCH CONTROL PAKISTAN HAS OVER THE INFILTRATORS. ... FURTHERMORE, HOW CAN THE ISLAMIC MILITANTS LEAVE WHEN INDIA HAS REFUSED TO GUARANTEE SAFE PASSAGE FOR THEM? TEXT: ON THAT NOTE OF CAUTION, WE CONCLUDE THIS SAMPLING OF COMMENT FROM THE U-S PRESS ON THE SITUATION IN KASHMIR. NEB/ANG/RAE 13-Jul-99 2:21 PM EDT (1821 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .