Restraint of the highest degree is necessary between India and Pakistan and neither nation must jump on the 'war on terrorism' bandwagon to resolve their differences. Rash actions will result in nothing less than war. The attack on India's Parliament on Thursday by five gunmen was a murderous crime. The seven security guards they killed before being shot dead was proof of their resolve to fight to the death to achieve their goal of destabilising the Indian Government. New Delhi claims they were Pakistanis wanting to further the cause of the insurgency in the disputed region of Kashmir and has pinned ultimate responsibility on Islamabad. The accusation has been denied and understandably left Pakistan bristling with anger and issuing counter claims. But most worrying is New Delhi's threatened response - which it says it is formulating and will be carried out in a manner similar to that by Israel against Palestinian suicide bombers and by the United States against Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network and its protectors in Afghanistan, the Taleban. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Interior Minister Lal Krishna Advani have named Pakistani Islamic groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed as the target for a response. Kashmir has been the flashpoint of war three times since the bitter rivals were created more than half a century ago. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost and with both nations recognised as being nuclear-capable, Kashmir is a potential time-bomb that must be treated with the strictest care. For either side to willingly escalate the conflict through US or Israeli-style action would be pure madness. Mediation has and always will be the only sensible way for the Kashmir dispute to be settled. True, the sides have met at all levels numerous times over the years, to no avail. But the sticking points of five decades ago are the same as those today and the truth of the matter is that the world has moved on. Post September 11, there is a new craving worldwide for peace and security. That sentiment has been expressed by ordinary Israelis, Palestinians and Afghans. Kashmiris, divided by a disputed line on a map, are no different. Although the conflict goes far beyond a mere boundary, in the end it is the Kashmiris who are suffering. A third country, such as the US, may wish to provide the impetus and ultimately, the provocations must be settled through dialogue. The fight against terrorism cannot suddenly be conjured up as an excuse or justification to escalate the issue.