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Pakistan: Jet shot down India spy plane

From Syed Mohsin Naqvi

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) -- A Pakistani military jet late Friday gunned down an unmanned Indian spy plane over Pakistani airspace, officials in Pakistan said.

The incident comes during international efforts to ease tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations over Kashmir. (Full story)

The spy plane went down about 10 miles (15 km) from the border with India, or about 25 miles (40 km) south of Lahore, the capital of the Punjab province near the eastern border.

Witnesses described a big fire at the crash scene. Military officials have secured the area, the official said.

Troops and peace talks

Between them India and Pakistan have massed about a million troops along their border and the Kashmiri Line of Control, which divides the disputed region between them.

India accuses Pakistan of funding, arming and training Islamic militant groups it blames for a series of attacks in Indian administered Kashmir and a deadly attack on the Indian parliament last December.

Pakistan has denied the Indian charges saying it only gives moral support to groups waging what it calls a "liberation struggle" for the people of Kashmir. (A tense few weeks)

Earlier Friday, top U.S. envoy Richard Armitage said tensions between two nations have eased a little, but says it is too soon to rule out the threat of a war over Kashmir.

"Tensions are a little bit down," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Indian capital.

Armitage had held talks with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad on Thursday on the first stop of his mission to try to defuse the potential conflict on the subcontinent. Musharraf assured him Pakistan would not start a war.

The tense stand-off has raised international fears of a possible nuclear war developing from the dispute over the Himalayan region, which already has sparked two wars between Pakistan and India. (Kashmir history)




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