India has rejected Pakistan’s proposal to move heavy artillery and mortars away from the Line of Control (LoC), citing frequent ceasefire violations, Indian newspaper The Economic Times reported.
India has also asked Islamabad to come clear on its nuclear policy, including command and control over nuclear assets.
This was conveyed to Pakistani officials by India during the two-day talks on nuclear and conventional confidence building measures (CBMs) that were held in Islamabad this week after a gap of four years, the paper quoted sources as saying.
The command of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the prerogative of the National Command Authority, was transferred from the president to the prime minister in 2009 after the parliament passed the National Command Authority Bill 2009 in January that year.
During the talks, Pakistan proposed to redeploy artillery and mortar 30 kilometres away from the LoC among other CBMs that included an agreement on the prevention of incidents at sea and the return of citizens who inadvertently cross the border.
However, the paper reported, New Delhi has conveyed to Pakistan that it cannot look at such proposals till the situation at the LoC improves. Regarding the nuclear CBMs, India made it clear to Pakistan that views on nuclear doctrines could be exchanged only when official documents enunciating the policies are available in the public domain.
According to the report, Indian officials also stressed the need to practically demonstrate restraint and responsibility in the nuclear field and urged it to facilitate talks on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.
Officials pointed out that India had announced its nuclear doctrine of credible minimum deterrence in 2003 which places the command and control of nuclear devices with the civilian leadership. That same year, the two neighbours also agreed to a ceasefire at the defacto but heavily militarised border.
Krishna to visit Pakistan
The paper also reported that Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna is slated to visit Pakistan to review the progress on the talks. Meetings between the two countries’ home secretaries, water resources secretaries, defence secretaries and foreign secretaries will also take place before the visit.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2011.