India has denied escalating tensions with its neighbor as Pakistan called on
New Delhi to resume a dialogue and pull back its troops along the border.
Tensions have been deepening between the South Asian neighbors since last
month's terror attacks in Mumbai which New Delhi says were mounted by Islamic
extremists based in Pakistan.
Hours after Pakistani foreign
minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked India to deactivate its air bases and
relocate its forces to peacetime positions, his Indian counterpart shrugged
aside the comment.
Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee says New
Delhi has not taken any steps to escalate military tensions with its neighbor
since the terror attacks in Mumbai.
"We have not done anything which
can escalate the tension between India and Pakistan because from day one I am
saying this is not an India-Pakistan issue," he said. "This is an attack
perpetrated by elements emanating from the land of Pakistan, and Pakistan
government should take action. We have not escalated the tensions, so where is
the question of de-escalation."
India denies that it has moved its troops
to the border with Pakistan, and says any military movements in recent weeks are
part of "routine winter exercises." On the weekend, Pakistani officials said
they had redeployed some troops from the Afghan border to the Indian border,
sharply raising tensions between the neighbors.
New Delhi says talk of a military build up along
the border is an effort to divert attention from demands by India and other
countries that Pakistan must clamp down on Islamic militant groups blamed for
the terror strikes which killed more than 170 people in Mumbai.
foreign minister Mukherjee reiterated demands that Islamabad act against Islamic
extremist groups which carry out terror attacks in India. "Yes we will give you
evidences as we have earlier given you, but please act on it," he
Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says Islamabad will
cooperate with India if it is given evidence that gunmen who mounted the attacks
in Mumbai came from Pakistan.
The Pakistani minister called for calm in
the region. He says dialogue is in the interest of both countries and they
should sit across the table to resolve their differences.
between the two countries have deteriorated in the last month, and India has
suspended a peace dialogue between the two countries.