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Pakistani Election Could Lead to Reduced Tensions With India

Pakistani Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif is vowing to reduce tensions with his nation's longtime foe India, but could again face resistance from the military and extremists, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

The neighboring South Asian states, both holding sizable nuclear arsenals, have already gone to war three times.

Sharif's party won victory in elections on Saturday, positioning him to reclaim the leadership position he held from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1997 to 1999. During that time he oversaw the nation's 1998 nuclear tests and sought to reduce tensions with India.

"We will pick up the threads from where we left in 1999," the year Sharif and then then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee inked the Lahore Declaration, Sharif said on Monday. The declaration required the nations to "take immediate steps for reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons and discuss concepts and doctrines with a view to elaborating measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at prevention of conflict."

Three months after the February 1999 signing, then army head-Gen. Pervez Musharraf ignited bloody new fighting by deploying troops into a zone of the disputed Kashmir region held by New Delhi. Musharraf forced Sharif from power later that year.

The army might again take action if it perceives danger to its position or if it disputes developments on Kashmir or other matters, according to AP.

The terrorist organization Lashkar e-Taiba, which carried out the 2008 attack that killed more than 160 people in the Indian city of Mumbai, might also take action to deter rapprochement between New Delhi and Islamabad.

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