Terror threat still real in Kashmir: Powell
25 July 2002
The Times of India
Washington DC: US Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted on Thursday that the potential for terrorist violence in Kashmir was still high, despite a reduction in infiltrations by extremists into the Indian sector of Kashmir. Powell spoke a day before embarking on an Asian tour which begins with a visit to India and Pakistan, his second visit to the tension-plagued region this year. ''There has been some reduction in infiltrations across the Line of Control, but it is still unfortunately the case that there is violence, there is terrorist violence that takes place,'' Powell told reporters. ''In my conversations with the Indians and the Pakistanis, I will see if there are any other actions that can be taken that will reduce the level of violence or the potential for violence,'' Powell said after meeting Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah. The issue of infiltrations in Kashmir is sure to be a contentious topic during the South Asian leg of Powell''s trip this weekend. In recent days, India has stepped up the heat on the issue ahead of Powell''s arrival, branding Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. Washington said several weeks ago that there has been a sharp decrease in infiltrations from Pakistan into Kashmir, in line with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf''s pledge to crack down on the movement of extremists. US officials have privately expressed concerns that another terror strike like the one in Kashmir earlier this month, which killed 28 persons, could send India-Pakistan tensions back to the boiling point.