Foreigners rushed to leave India and Pakistan yesterday amid growing fears of nuclear war between the two countries, whilePakistan's leader tried to play down the threat.
"I don't think either side is that irresponsible," President Pervez Musharraf said. "One shouldn't even be discussing these things, because any sane individual cannot even think of going into this unconventional war, whatever the pressures."
But the United Nations is evacuating the families of its staff in Pakistan. Foreign governments, including Britain and the US, have told their nationals to leave India as tensions rise over the disputed territory of Kashmir, where Pakistan said three people were killed and several more wounded by Indian artillery fire yesterday.
India, which accuses Pakistan of helping Islamist militants to infiltrate its sector of Kashmir, reported that one civilian was killed and nine wounded yesterday in the fourth grenade attack in Kashmir since Friday.
Britain's Foreign Office fears that such incidents could lead to a nuclear exchange.
International efforts to pull both nations back from the brink of war have been stepped up, with the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, on the telephone to Delhi and Islamabad over the weekend.
Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, and Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State, are due to visit the region this week.
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