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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pakistan's Pledge Fails to Halt Firing

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan/NEW DELHI, India -- Pakistani and Indian forces traded fire across their border Tuesday as New Delhi brushed off Pakistan's president's pledge that he would unveil details of a crackdown on Islamic militants within days.

India said it still saw no shift in Pakistan's stand despite Pervez Musharraf's statements condemning terrorism, and said it was still waiting for Islamabad to crack down on militant groups.

"I don't see any shift in their position on terrorism as directed against India. I think the time has come for Pakistan to shed the ambivalence it continues to maintain on such issues," Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao told a news conference.

"What we expect from Pakistan is concrete, serious, substantial steps to deal with cross-border terrorism and groups that operate from Pakistani soil. We have yet to see satisfactory action taken," she said.

Disputed Kashmir remained at flash point. Indian officials said two Pakistan-based rebels and an Indian soldier were killed in an attack on an Indian army camp, and Pakistani police and officials said the nuclear-armed archrivals exchanged sporadic small-arms fire across their border.

Pakistani and Indian forces also traded intermittent fire late Monday and early Tuesday across their border in the Sialkot area of Pakistan's Punjab province, witnesses said.

The border has seen the biggest military buildup in 15 years after the Dec. 13 attack on India's parliament, which New Delhi says was carried out by Pakistan-based militants, raising fears of a fourth war between the two rivals since 1947.

Several civilians and soldiers on both sides have been killed in daily exchanges of mortar and gun fire across the border and a cease-fire line in Kashmir.

Musharraf, under pressure from the United States and Britain, said Monday that decisions still had to be taken on the crackdown on militants based in Pakistan, and all would be revealed when he addressed the nation in a few days.

"Pakistan rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and has fully cooperated with the international coalition against terrorism in that spirit," Musharraf told a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who visited both nations on a mission to defuse tensions.

India remains opposed to peace talks without a major shift in Pakistan's attitude, and said there was no room for a mediator.

U.S. President George W. Bush weighed in Monday, calling for a clear pledge from Musharraf to crack down further on the militants India says are fighting for independence for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

Visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes on Tuesday.

"They exchanged views on the security situation, terrorism and defense cooperation," said an Indian official. "Defense cooperation with Israel is an ongoing thing," he said.

India wants Pakistan to end its sponsorship of the groups and wipe them out, and has demanded that 20 militants be handed over.

But Musharraf said Pakistan, which has already arrested scores of Islamic militants, including leading members of the two groups India accuses of being behind the parliament attack, had also suffered from terrorism.

"We have been a victim of sectarian extremism, sectarian terrorism," Musharraf said. "All that is being addressed and its final decisions will be given when I come to address the nation in a few days' time."