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US urges calm amid Pakistan-India tensions

world Updated: Dec 27, 2008 10:04 IST

ANI
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Washington urged India and Pakistan to avoid escalating tensions in the wake of the Mumbai attacks after Pakistan redeployed thousands of troops to the border with India.

"US officials are in touch with both the Indians and Pakistanis. We continue to urge both sides to cooperate on the Mumbai investigation as well as counterterrorism in general," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told AFP on Friday.

"We also do not want either side to take any unnecessary steps that raise tensions in an already tense situation." Johndroe spoke after Pakistan moved troops to the border with India and New Delhi warned citizens against travel to Pakistan, saying it was unsafe for them to be in the country.

Tensions are at their highest point since 2001, when Kashmiri militants staged a brazen attack on the Indian parliament -- an attack New Delhi blamed on the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has blamed the same group for the Mumbai attacks and has repeatedly said Islamabad is not doing enough to rein in militant groups, a claim that Pakistan rejects.

The nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours -- which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir -- have said they do not want war this time, but warn they would act if provoked.