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Terming Kashmir as the "most dangerous place in the world", the United States on Thursday said rising tension between India and Pakistan would top Secretary of State Colin Powell's agenda during his upcoming visit to the subcontinent, officials said.
Powell, during his visits to New Delhi and Islamabad, would try to reduce Indo-Pak tensions rising out of the recent terrorist attack on the J&K assembly, they said.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told reporters that Kashmir "is the most dangerous place in the world" and that "the main purpose of Powell's trip would be to ensure that tensions between the two countries do not escalate".
Armitage said tensions were heightened as a result of the terrorist attack on the assembly, in which 40 people were killed.
"One of the reasons he is going is to probe the minds of the Pakistanis and the Indians and see if there is not a way to lower the temperature," Armitage said
The deputy secretary of state said in addition to addressing Kashmir issue, Powell would also be thanking India and Pakistan for their help in the US-led anti-terrorism coalition.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher indicated separately that Powell would indeed ask Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to stop terrorism in Kashmir, rejecting the military ruler's description of the terrorists as indigenous "freedom fighters" with whom he had nothing to do except to give them political, moral and diplomatic support.
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External Link: For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html
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