Local Indians, Pakistanis Discount War

Escalating tensions between India and Pakistan that could re­sult in war between the two nu­clear-armed countries has left lo­cal expatriate Indians and Pak­istanis unconcerned.

Pankaj Negi, an Indian who is part-owner of Shiva Shakti restaurant, said he does not believe there will be war, despite weeks of threats and troop buildups along the India-Pakistan border.

Either a conventional or a nu­clear war would be a loss for both sides, he said. And the situation should improve over the next few weeks because of pressure from the international community.

The Indian Embassy estimates that there are about 200 Indian citizens in Cambodia, with a large majority living in Phnom Penh. The Pakistani Association of Cambodia said 25 Pakistanis live in Cambodia, including 14 in Phnom Penh.

Jayapal Sathish, the Indian manager of East India Curry Restaurant, said too much government money has been spent on supplying the Indian army. Tension has worsened “due to lack of response from Pak­istan,” he said. But he, too, does not believe that a war will occur.

Noor Ullah, president of The Pakistani Association of Cambo­dia and owner of the Indian Curry Pot, downplayed the possibility of war. He noted that Pakistan President General Pervez Mu­sharraf and Indian Prime Minis­ter Atal Bihari Vajpayee may meet for talks at this week’s Asian security summit in Kazakhstan.

But, “if India wants to put pressure” on Pakistan with a war, “then I think Pakistan will give the proper answer” by fighting back, he said.

Noor Ullah said the Kashmiris should be left to decide whether they want independence from India. “Of course, nobody likes terrorism,” he said, adding that Pakis­tan has suffered from terrorist bombings in Karachi.

“We don’t look at war as a means of achieving peace,” an Indian Embassy official said. “We want a stop to terrorist activities.”

But “if our territorial integrity is threatened, we won’t hesitate to defend our sanctity.”


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