Indian leader says Pakistan is waging 'proxy war'

AP News
Posted: Aug 12, 2014 9:50 AM

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — India's prime minister on Tuesday accused Pakistan of waging a proxy, terrorist war because it was too weak to fight a conventional one, a day after India accused its traditional rival of violating cease-fire agreements in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to provide Indian troops with more weapons, saying they were suffering more casualties from "terrorism than from war."

"Pakistan has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism," Modi said in an address to Indian army soldiers and officers in the city of Leh. He also announced that a national war memorial would be installed in the region.

The pugnacious comments appeared to mark a reversal from friendlier tones struck in the days after Modi and his Hindu-nationalist party won Indian elections in a landslide in May. Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was among regional leaders who attended Modi's inauguration.

Pakistan's Foreign Office was looking into Modi's remarks and couldn't comment on them yet, spokesman Tasnim Aslam Khan said.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have long sparred over Kashmir, which is claimed in its entirety by both countries but divided between them and administered separately. They have fought two of three wars over the region since 1947.

The Indian military said Monday that Pakistan was violating cease-fire agreements at the de-facto border. India regularly accuses Pakistan of training and arming insurgents for attacks in its portion of Kashmir, a charge Pakistan staunchly denies.

About half a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for either Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989. About 68,000 people have been killed in the armed uprising and Indian military crackdown. While the armed rebellion has largely been suppressed, anti-India resentment still runs deep and is mainly expressed through street protests.

This was Modi's second trip to Kashmir since taking over India's top office. He also on Tuesday inaugurated two hydro-electric power projects.