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Restraint urged after Musharraf speech

Musharraf said Pakistan would not initiate war with India  

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- World leaders are urging continuing restraint as they await India's response to an address by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf warning the danger of war between the two neighbors is not yet over.

An official Indian response to the speech by External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh is expected at 3.30 p.m. Tuesday local time (10 a.m. GMT, 6 a.m. EDT).

"The entire nation is with the armed forces and will shed the last drop of their blood but will not allow any harm to come to the motherland," Musharraf said in a speech which appears to have done little to ease tensions.

Nirupama Rao, Indian Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, said, her government "heard the speech carefully" and it "needs to be analyzed fully" in the context of Musharraf's recent statements.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi meanwhile has urged India to use diplomacy rather than military action to sort out its differences with Pakistan.

Kawaguchi telephoned Singh early on Tuesday, calling on New Delhi to continue to exercise restraint after the speech, Reuters reports.

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Kawaguchi stressed that military action would not benefit India but would play into the hand of "terrorists", as it could further escalate tensions and cause confusion in Pakistan, an official said.

Singh asked Japan to continue to use its influence to calm down Pakistan, the official said.

Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander said Tuesday Australia remained deeply concerned about the security situation, but the statement by Musharraf vowing not to initiate war was "reassuring".

But he told commercial television: "We need to see more signs of progress than just one speech from the president.

"The reality is that Pakistan must not only do what it can to try to crack down on these militants but be seen to be doing what it can.

"If that is achieved then that will obviously build a good deal more confidence in India and help to ease the tension."

Earlier, a senior Indian diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was disappointed at the speech, calling it "provocative."

Another South Asia analyst told CNN the speech would do nothing to ease the current stand-off between the nuclear neighbors.

In the speech, President Musharraf said Pakistan wanted dialogue, but added: "If war is thrust upon us, every Muslim is bound to respond in kind.

"Pakistan does not want war. Pakistan will not be the one to initiate war, we want peace in the region."

Musharraf later told British newspaper the Financial Times that he was a military man and while he did not want war, he was not scared of it either.

"However, the avoidance of war cannot come at the cost of compromising our honor and dignity," he said.

Musharraf told the paper his speech was "meant for a multiple audience. It's meant for the domestic audience, the international audience, especially the United States and European Union.

"It's meant for the Indian audience and the Kashmiri audience. One had to address many concerns at the same time."

In the speech Musharraf sought to assure the world community that "Pakistan is doing nothing across the Line of Control and Pakistan will never allow the export of terrorism anywhere in the world from within Pakistan".

"We are faced with a grave situation and we are standing at the crossroads of history. Today's decisions will have serious internal and external effects on our future."

Faulting India for blaming Pakistan for recent violence in the disputed territory of Kashmir, he said Pakistan is "not a nation to be intimidated."

"Pakistan cannot be held responsible for those activities by freedom fighters in occupied Kashmir," he said, but he added that Pakistan "will always support the Kashmiri struggle for liberation."

Facing "the most difficult situation," Musharraf urged the world to ask India to move to normalization of relations with his country.

Villagers living along the Line of Control have begun to evacuate their homes
Villagers living along the Line of Control have begun to evacuate their homes  

Consultation would de-escalate the tension and benefit both countries, he said.

In a separate matter, Musharraf said Pakistan would hold parliamentary elections on October 7 to 11.

"For the first time, army will not involve in any level of referendum," he said.

The speech came a day after the Muslim nation successfully fired what it called an "indigenously developed" short-range missile in southern Pakistan -- the second missile test in as many days.

The two tests further stoked simmering tensions between the rivals over the disputed region of Kashmir and a series of attacks by Islamic militants on targets in India. (Full story.)

On the border between the two countries, CNN correspondent Satinder Bindra reports another tense day with "very heavy shelling."

By some accounts 100,000 people on the India border have been displaced by the fighting, along with an undetermined number on the Pakistani side, Bindra reports.

Earlier this month, an army camp in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir was attacked, killing more than 30 people. Since then, troops have skirmished daily across the Line of Control dividing the Indian and Pakistani-administered sections of Kashmir.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops are stationed along the international border and the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Indian Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani said Monday it was time for India to come up with a different approach to the "proxy war" with Pakistan.

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring militants to fight a "proxy war" for Islamabad against Indian rule in Kashmir, but Pakistan denies the charge.

India has provided enough time to Pakistan to hand over a number of those militants to New Delhi, Advani said.

"The war has been declared by Pakistan and terrorists. Now the question is whether we should fight it the way we have been fighting or adopt a different way," he said. "The time has come to adopt another way to fight the war," he said.

Advani, who is regarded as a hard-liner, did not clarify his comments.

He said "cross-border terrorism" could be seen as an act of war, comparable to the terror actions perpetrated against the United States on September 11.


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