'Uncontrollable' Terror Attack
Could Provoke India-Pak War

Washington (PTI) - Despite lessening of tension between India and Pakistan a terrorist attack "beyond the control of either side" could provoke reaction, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said.

"There is a clear perception that tensions are easing and that the likelihood of a conflict is lessening" but military situation on the ground and the respective levels of alert has "really not changed notably," Rumsfeld told reporters here yesterday while briefing about his recent visit to India and Pakistan.

He, however, said "there are several risks ahead in the period we're now entering, including the possibility, of course, of a terrorist act beyond the control of either party, which could be misunderstood and conceivably provoke a reaction."

Rumsfeld said both nations have taken some initial steps that, while not definitive, are having a positive effect.

The leaders of both countries are increasingly aware that tension in the region is hurting them economically, he said adding fear of war discourages international investment to the detriment of the economies of both the countries and certainly their people.

"We raised that issue with both countries, and I think they are sensitive to it," Rumsfeld said.

He said both Pakistan and India indicate a desire for continued US involvement and appreciated the efforts that President George Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and others have been making.

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