India’s plans to buy military hardware from Israel will further compound the issue, Arafat told the Hindu newspaper in an interview published Sunday.

Sharon “can't offer anything. What he is saying will escalate the situation and war between Pakistan and India,” Arafat said.

Sharon's visit, scheduled for 9 September, is to be the first by an Israeli head of state since the two countries established full diplomatic relations some 11 years ago.

The war on terror

Talks between the two premiers are expected to focus on the war on terror. India may seek Israeli help in securing its borders in Kashmir against separatist infiltrators from the Pakistani side of the line of control.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last year suggested India deploy a series  of sensors to track the movement of people across the troubled Kashmir border - the main point of contention between the nuclear rivals. The Israeli government has the technology.

Relations between India and Pakistan reached crisis point last year when the two nuclear rivals amassed troops on their respective borders in a tense stand-off. The countries have been trying to thaw tensions since with a number of meetings.

India accuses Pakistan of training, funding and arming rebels in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where a number of deadly bombings and suicide attacks have taken place.

Though Pakistan denies the charge, it admits providing moral, political and diplomatic support to, what it calls the Kashmiri freedom movement.