WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States noted with concern Friday recent press reports in South Asia predicting possible tests of ballistic missiles by India and Pakistan.

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said the administration has urged both sides to exercise restraint and ``to avoid inflammatory actions that would heighten tensions and fuel a missiles arms race.''

He added that many other nations have also urged both sides not to take such actions.

Rubin said missile tests would not be helpful to efforts to reduce tensions and build confidence through dialogue, nor would they help U.S. efforts to promote a reconciliation between the two rivals.

He added that the U.S. embassies in the two countries have raised concerns on the issue. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will be visiting both countries later in the month to discuss the matter.

Rubin described as ``horrifying'' the prospect of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. He said increased nuclear and missile capabilities by the two also raises the possibility of related technologies spreading to countries avowedly hostile to the United States.