( AP )
SLAMABAD: Pakistan accused India on Wednesday of moving troops toward the Pakistani side of the disputed territory of Kashmir and warned the Indians its forces were on high alert.
"This incident ... has become a cause of concern," said Maj. Gen Rashid Quereshi, spokesman for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. He also said it "may be a threat" and warned against "any aggressive action." Quereshi said the Pakistani military was "fully alive to the situation and on a high state of alert."
India rejected the charges of additional troop and air force movements that could pose a security threat in the region, a defence ministry spokesman said.
In New Delhi, Indian Army spokesman Col. Shruti Kant said the movements were a routine troop rotation. "Keeping in view the infiltration threat and the setting in of winter, local redeployment of troops is carried out every year during this season," Kant said. "No additional troops have been brought in to the Kashmir Valley."
Quereshi spoke two days after Indian forces shelled Pakistani positions in Kashmir in the most serious incident in months. The two armies face one another in the disputed territory, and belligerent statements are common.
However, the situation is of special concern to the United States because both countries are supporting Washington in its campaign against terrorist bases in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Colin Powell left India on Wednesday after a visit to the region to reduce tensions between the two South Asian neighbors.
Quereshi repeatedly refused to give details on the military movements he cited. But asked if they represented forward movement of Indian forces, he said, "Obviously the movement cannot be rearwards."
The issue of Kashmir, a mountainous northern territory claimed by Pakistan and India, is the major issue of contention between the two countries and the cause of two wars.
Quereshi said India should not be misled by anti-government demonstrations across Pakistan, saying Musharraf's government was fully capable of defending the country.
"No one would be allowed to exploit the situation or take hostile or belligerent action against Pakistan," Quereshi said. "Pakistan's armed forces reserve the right to respond or retaliate appropriate to any aggression by India," Quereshi said.