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US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca told a news conference in New Delhi that Washington was worried about the "continued mobilization of two major armies facing each other in close proximity and the threat caused by a spark... that could lead to an unintended conflict".
With one million troops stationed along the border since a December 2001 attack on India's parliament by Islamic extremists (allegedly linked to Pakistan), Rocca's peace mission has taken on fresh urgency after Islamic militants killed 34 and wounded 57 people in an attack on an army base in Kashmir's Hindu-majority winter capital Jammu. Of the total killed, 10 were children and 12 women.
India holds Pakistan "directly responsible'' for the deadly attack, where at least 45 people were wounded in 14 May assault. Three AK-47 toting militants dressed in army uniforms got off a bus outside of the Kaluchak army camp and opened fire. Seven bus passengers were killed, then the militants entered the camp's residential quarters. The sentry had left the gates open to allow the children to be driven to school and army personnel to go to work.
Grabbing grenades from their rucksacks, the attackers killed five soldiers and 18 of their family members. Indian Army soldiers mounted a response (apparently bringing an 84mm Carl Gustav recoilless rifle to bear) and the three militants were also killed.
According to a new article by Bruce O. Riedel, former President Bill Clinton's chief White House adviser on South Asia, Pakistan was preparing to possibly fire nuclear weapons during the 1999 border conflict with India. Both countries were closer to nuclear war than was commonly known at the time, and the Pakistani army mobilized its nuclear arsenal without the knowledge of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
The report, published in the 12 May issue of The Sunday Times newspaper, noted that Pakistans uranium bombs are designed to be dropped by plane or carried by Ghauri missiles, while smaller plutonium warheads can be attached to Chinese-made M-11 missiles. By 2003, analysts estimate that Pakistan will have between 50 and 75 nuclear warheads, while India will have between 75 to 100. - Adam Geibel
Shelling across the Line of Control left two civilians dead and six wounded in Pakistan. In Kashmir, several actions with rebels left 12 rebels dead.