Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed support Tuesday for India’s policy of self-restraint in its dispute over Kashmir with Pakistan, underlining Tokyo’s concern about the tension between the two nuclear powers.

Koizumi’s remark came during an afternoon meeting with Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes, who paid a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, according to Japanese government officials.

During the meeting, Fernandes emphasized that India has made efforts to reduce tensions and rebuild trust with Pakistan, including the appointment of a new ambassador to Islamabad, an official said.

The Indian defense chief, however, said that despite New Delhi’s efforts to ease tensions in the territorial dispute, Islamabad’s actions have been provocative and include infiltration by militants across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir.

Expressing backing for India’s self-restraint, Koizumi told Fernandes that Tokyo hopes both India and Pakistan will continue efforts to reduce tensions, the official said.

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