CIA Says Chances Of India-
Pakistan War Highest Since 1971


(AFP) - Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet said the possibility of war breaking out between India and Pakistan had reached a high point, warning such a conflict could erupt into nuclear war.
"The chance of war between these two nuclear-armed states is higher that at any point since 1971," Tenet told a Senate Intelligence committee.
"Both India and Pakistan are publicly downplaying the risks of nuclear conflict in the current crisis. We are deeply concerned, however, that a conventional war -- once begun -- could escalate into a nuclear confrontation."
The nuclear-armed neighbors were toiling to develop more advanced weapons, produce fissile material and increase their nuclear stockpiles.
"We have continuing concerns that both sides may not be done with nuclear testing," he added.
India in January tested a new short-range version of its intermediate, nuclear-capable Agni missile, prompting angry condemnation from Pakistan and raising concerns of a fresh escalation in military tensions between the South Asian rivals.
India and Pakistan have been readied for war -- with an estimated 800,000 troops massed on their common border -- since New Delhi blamed two Pakistan-based militant groups for the deadly December 13 attack on its parliament.
The Agni series of missiles, which can be fired from mobile launchers, was initially developed to provide a credible nuclear deterrent to China. The Agni II, last tested in January 2001, has a maximum range of 2,500 kilometers (1,560 miles).
Copyright © 2002 AFP. All rights reserved.

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