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Indian prime minister: ‘Nobody wants war’ after terror attack

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NEW DELHI — India's prime minister insisted Tuesday that "nobody wants war" as he tried to calm fears a day after Pakistan sent fighter jets into the skies amid heightened tensions between the two nations.

Relations between the longtime, nuclear-armed rivals have been strained since the Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed 164 people last month.

India blames militants operating from Pakistani soil and wants Islamabad to crack down; Pakistan says India has not provided proof of Pakistani involvement.

Seeking to temper tensions, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his second visit to Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks. He urged the country's leadership to work with India to fight terrorism.

Also visiting Pakistan, the head of Interpol said Islamabad has agreed to work with the global police agency to help investigate the attacks. But three weeks into the probe, India has not yet shared any evidence that would help the agency identify suspects from other countries, Ronald Noble said.

At the same time, Noble defended India's right to decide when to share the evidence. "I really respect a sovereign's decision to decide when to share information with police worldwide," the secretary general said.

India has one suspect in custody: the lone surviving gunmen from the Nov. 26 assault. On Monday, India gave Pakistan a letter it says was written by accused gunman Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, an alleged member of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Kasab wrote that all 10 gunmen involved in the Nov. 26 attack came from Pakistan, India's Foreign Ministry said. He also requested a meeting with Pakistani envoys, it said.

In Islamabad, the head of Pakistan's Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik, said Pakistan had no record of Kasab.

Malik, speaking at a news conference with Noble, said experts were examining the letter. However, he reiterated that Pakistan cannot fully investigate potential links back to the country without more evidence from India.

With tensions rising, Pakistan's military sent fighter jets flying low near several of Pakistan's major cities. "In view of the current environment, the Pakistan Air Force has enhanced its vigilance," the military said in a statement.

Pakistan has also accused Indian fighter jets of violating its airspace, a charge New Delhi denies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought to calm tensions.

"The issue is not war; nobody wants war," he told reporters. "The issue is terror — and territory in Pakistan being used to promote and abet terrorism."

India has demanded that Islamabad take action against Lashkar and other groups operating from Pakistani soil, saying it has provided enough evidence for Pakistan to crack down against the group.

Pakistan has arrested several senior members of the banned group and has also moved against Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity that India and others say is a front for Lashkar. But India has criticized the moves as insufficient and has demanded greater action.

Another militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, is accused of plotting a bomb attack in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir, police there said Tuesday in announcing the arrest of three suspects — including a Pakistani soldier.

More than a dozen groups have been fighting since 1989 to oust India from Kashmir, a Himalayan region that is split between India and Pakistan but claimed in its entirety by both. The countries have gone to war twice since gaining independence from Britain in 1947 over Kashmir.

One of the men arrested Sunday, Ghulam Farid, is a Pakistani soldier, Kuldeep Khoda, director-general of police in Indian Kashmir, said in Jammu. He provided Farid's army service number.

There was no immediate response from the Pakistani army.

Confirmation that Farid is an active Pakistani soldier would be a blow for Pakistan, which denies funding and training Kashmiri militant groups and says it only provides them with moral support.

Associated Press Writer Zorawar Singh Jamwal contributed to this report from Jammu.