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Musharraf to address nation

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India's PM Vajpayee says there is a 'limit to India's patience' with Pakistan  


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf plans to address his nation Monday evening on the tense standoff with India over recent cross-border attacks.

The address, which CNN understands was postponed from Sunday, comes as U.S. President George W. Bush calls on Pakistan to do more to prevent militants attacking Indian targets.

Bush, who is on a state trip to France, said he and other world leaders wanted Musharraf to "show results" in stopping militants crossing the "Line of Control" that divides the border region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations have been building since an attack last week killed 34 people on the Indian side of the line.

Those strains were increased when Pakistan carried out two short-range missile tests over the past two days.

The missiles are believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and the testing has been regarded as a provocative act by some analysts.

President Bush and other U.S. officials have played down the impact of the tests however, saying while the timing was not good, the missile activity had not made things appreciably worse.

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CNN's Tom Mintier reports on the reaction of world leaders to Pakistan missile tests over the weekend. (May 26)

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India, for its part, has described the tests as "merely grandstanding" and designed to impress a domestic Pakistani audience.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said the missile test will have no effect on the current situation between the two nuclear foes.

Rao said it is an act of catering to the "whims and demands of Pakistan's domestic audience."

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has so far avoided commenting on the missile tests, but did speak on the issue of cross border militant attacks in India -- the key focus behind the tense military standoff between the South Asian neighbors.

"The world community should understand that there is a limit to India's patience," Vajpayee said in a speech carried live on national television on Sunday.

"How can we tolerate terrorist activities in our country and for how long?" he asked.

India told an EU delegation last week that it would delay any military action against Pakistan for two weeks.

Sunday's missile test, described as successful by Islamabad, involved a short-range surface-to-surface Hatf-3 (Ghaznavi) missile launched between 8 and 8:30 a.m. local time (0200 to 0230 GMT).

The missile, with a range of 290 km (180 miles) is believed to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. State-run media reported that it was the first test of the Ghaznavi missile system.

A statement from the Pakistani government praised the people who developed the missile.

The launch of "the indigenously developed Ghaznavi is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and professional excellence of Pakistani scientists and engineers. Musharraf congratulated the team of officers and men on their outstanding success," the statement said.

Sunday's test follows the test-firing on Saturday of a medium range Ghauri ballistic missile, which was hailed as a success by Musharraf.

The Ghauri, with a range of 1600 km (1000 miles) is capable of striking major Indian cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai and can deliver a maximum payload of about 1000 kilograms.

The tests occur amid fears of war between the two nuclear neighbors and efforts by world leaders to end the military standoff.

Hundreds of thousands of troops are massed along the Indian-Pakistani border and on Kashmir's Line of Control -- a confrontation sparked by militant attacks in India, which New Delhi blames on Pakistan-based rebels.

Pakistan did notify India and other countries on Friday that it would carry out a range of missile tests, scheduled to end on Tuesday, and that they were unrelated to the Kashmir dispute.

Kashmir dispute

But the tests have been widely described as ill-timed and non-conducive to reducing tensions on the subcontinent.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the missile testing only aggravates the situation. Putin added that he would invite the leaders of India and Pakistan to Kazakhstan for talks next month to try to cool down the conflict.

Pakistan and India have been at odds over the Himalayan flashpoint for more than five decades, and have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.

The situation escalated recently when terrorists attacked an army camp in India, killing more than 30 people.

Since then, troops have skirmished daily across the Line of Control.

On Sunday, Pakistani and Indian troops traded heavy fire Sunday in the Bhimbher district in the Pakistan-administered section of Kashmir, officials said.

-- CNN Correspondent Tom Mintier and Producer Suhasini Haidar contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 






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