Indian Deputy PM Advani
Dares Pakistan To Start War


NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani on Saturday dared Pakistan to go to a fourth war instead of targetting temples and civilians through what he called a proxy war, local media reports said.
Campaigning in Gujarat, where human rights groups say more than 2,500 people, mainly Muslims, died this year in some of India's worst ever communal violence, Advani said India was ready for war.
"Let us fight it out face to face. We have fought thrice, let there be a fourth war," Press Trust of India quoted Advani as saying.
The Gujarat poll is the latest test for the battling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that both rules the state and leads the national coalition government, but which has suffered major setbacks in other key state polls this year.
Analysts say the BJP will struggle to retain power in national elections due in 2004 in the face of mounting state setbacks.
India accuses Pakistan of waging a proxy war by sponsoring Islamic militants fighting New Delhi's rule in Kashmir, where more than 50 people, mainly civilians, have died in separate clashes in the past week.
Thirteen people died in a raid this week on the 150-year-old Raghunath temple and the nearby Rupyawali temple in Jammu city - an act that outraged India.
After a 10-month standoff that brought the South Asian nuclear giants close to war in June, they have begun pulling troops back from their heavily-militarised border. But tensions remain.
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