Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf's decision to ban five Kashmiri militant organisations, including the two thought to be behind the terror attack on the Indian Parliament last month, is a courageous move. If this first step in reducing tensions is followed up by diplomatic moves on both sides, it could mean a major breakthrough in the efforts to end the conflict between India and Pakistan. The danger of war between the two countries has receded significantly, even though it has not completely disappeared. India still wants Pakistan to hand over a number of people suspected of involvement in terrorism. Pakistan has refused to do so, and it will be interesting to see what influence US Secretary of State Colin Powell brings to bear on this issue when he visits Islamabad. There is a danger that the banned groups will now target the Pakistani regime itself, in addition to continuing their war in Kashmir. The mood among the banned groups appears to be belligerent. A report in the Washington Post quoted a member of Jaish-e-Mohammed, one of the banned groups, as saying: 'Who is President Musharraf to stop me from waging holy war against India?' He went on to say that the groups were planning to go underground and continue their cross-border raids into Kashmir. The real test now is what kind of arrangement New Delhi and Islamabad can arrive at to effectively control cross-border terrorism. The US and Britain have been involved in diplomatic efforts to reduce tension, and the US Secretary of State's visit should see further movement in this direction. The next step should be to reduce troops on the border. This will only happen when India feels confident that the threat of infiltration has reduced. But given the mood among the Kashmiri groups in Pakistan, this could take a while to happen. What is important now is the resumption of a substantial dialogue between India and Pakistan to reduce tensions.