India, Pakistan consider demilitarising LoC

Published: December 27, 2011
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CBMs being discussed include averting incidents at sea and accidental border-crossing, but no major breakthrough per se. PHOTO: FILE

CBMs being discussed include averting incidents at sea and accidental border-crossing, but no major breakthrough per se. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan and India are considering a new proposal to remove weapons from the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed region of Kashmir, in a development that may prove crucial for a resolution of the longstanding issue.

The suggestion is part of several other proposals being discussed at the two-day talks in Islamabad between senior officials from the two sides on conventional and nuclear confidence building measures (CBMs).

The parleys, part of the peace process resumed earlier this year, opened on Monday with the nuclear-armed neighbours pushing for new measures to improve ties.

A senior foreign ministry official told The Express Tribune that Pakistan has put forward new CBMs including the redeployment of heavy weaponry along the LoC, an agreement on prevention of incidents at sea and the return of citizens who inadvertently cross the border.

“We (Pakistan) have proposed to redeploy artillery and mortar 30 kilometres away from the LoC,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

However, he added that discussions on the proposal were in their initial stages and no major breakthrough is expected during the ongoing round of talks.

The fresh CBM is being seen as an effort by the two sides to demilitarise the disputed Himalayan region, where in the past the two sides often exchanged fire, killing hundreds across the LoC.

However, such incidents are now a rarity because of the ceasefire the two countries agreed to in 2003 at the LoC.

On the first-day of talks, officials from the two sides reviewed existing CBMs including the ceasefire at the LoC and new proposals in a bid to further reduce the trust-deficit between the two countries.

The officials are also expected to discuss nuclear CBMs on Tuesday (today) such as expanding the existing agreement on advance notification on ballistic missiles, by also including cruise missile tests.

The other nuclear CBM that is likely to be taken up for discussion is a cooperative arrangement between the two countries for dealing with a Fukushima-like crisis, which occurred a few months back in Japan after a devastating earthquake.

India is also expected to urge Pakistan to agree on ‘a no-first-nuclear-use commitment,’ though Islamabad is unlikely to accept it at this stage.

The meeting is the first set of formal discussions following talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani at the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit held in the Maldives two months ago.

This is also the first round of talks to be held by the Joint Working Group on nuclear and conventional CBMs in four years. The last time that expert-level talks on the subject had taken place was in New Delhi in October 2007.

Islamabad and New Delhi are holding these vital talks on conventional and nuclear CBMs just a few days before the exchange of lists of their nuclear installations and facilities on January 1 under the “Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities”.

The nuclear neighbours signed this agreement on December 31, 1988 and both countries exchange their lists every year on January 1.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Sundeep
    Dec 27, 2011 - 9:43AM

    Has India leadership gone mad? Hasn’t they learned anything from Kargil. Why are we making concessions when we should be happy with the status quo.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Dec 27, 2011 - 9:46AM

    A sane step in the right direction. Stabilizing the eastern border is of paramount importance as the western border is riddled with US drone drops, Talibans, Al Qaeda and assorted jihadis. However, this issue will be politicized by those who care less about terrorist attacks on schools, mosques, minorities and most of all — our soldiers.

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  • Falcon
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:06AM

    Good Effort. Reducing the trust deficit between India and Pakistan is about the only major positive thing being taken up by this government.

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 10:56AM

    I love it. Keep moving in the right direction. We have a very long to way to go before we become normal, usual neighbours.

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  • sk
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:58AM

    Demilitarisation and no first use of nuclear weapons are first class proposals. Hope sense and pragmatism prevail on both sides rather than mere posturing.

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  • J Oberoi
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:52AM

    Every time the Indian leadership have taken a decision like this it has backfired big time. The indiscriminate issue of visas for the Mohali Test where more than 300 ‘fans’ never went back. Kargil was another. Only fools repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

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  • ahmad
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:52PM

    Great step, Zaid Hamid,Religious parties,Gen Hamid Gul & Crore commanders must be having cramps in their stomach’s.Recommend

  • Majid
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:19PM

    T hese steps are aimed at strengthening India at the expense of Pakistan in the region. Humble ing Pakistan regional posture is consist with us new Asia Pacific posture which envisage India as a regional shepherd. Policy makers have no right to impose India on Pakistan as they gave impose d America on Pakistan.

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  • shekar
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:53PM

    Indian government seems to have given up on our safety and security, these moves are in the interest of Section S in the ISI

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  • Ghaznavi
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:08PM

    First step towards demilitarization of Kashmir…

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  • Adeel759
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:14PM

    Demilitarizing could be very positive step

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  • SalSal
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:33PM

    Will fail. There will be some sort of terrorist incursion frOm either side sent by American or British agents. US and UK don’t want Peace b/w us they always interfere and cause some terrorist actIvity. They dont want us to be friends because if we do then who will buy tier weapons? If there’s peace b/w us they will lose us who are their customers!!!

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  • Kabir
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:17PM

    Very rightly pointed out by Majid. On the contrary , Pakistan should reject American framework of negotiations with India and resume the policy of regional politico-military stress on India to curb its growing influence in the region. This will also sabotage American plans in the region which in turn will facilitate Pakistan’s political influence in the region.

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  • hedgefunder
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:34PM

    Can Pakistan be trusted to honour any deals ?? Their track record suggests otherwise, as they still have plenty of those non state actors doing their bidding whenever it suits them!!!

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  • talkingoffacts
    Dec 27, 2011 - 5:20PM

    Not a very good idea. Kashmir is the most emotional, intractable issue between the two countries. Both countries should first build up on economical and political contacts for the next five or ten years. Once both realize that there is more to be gained in being friends than enemies, only then,the two should work on this issue. This is like putting the carriage before the horse; the terrorists will definitely exploit this.

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  • G. Din
    Dec 27, 2011 - 5:44PM

    @hedgefunder:
    “Can Pakistan be trusted to honour any deals ??”
    First, the headline is wrong. Second, it is not demilitarization that has been suggested but that heavy artillery (only) be moved back 30 km from LOC.
    Having said that, it is important to move towards peace (supposedly a desirable goal) in small steps during which question raised by you will be answered one way or another. Some risks have to be taken. The severity of those risks can be weighed by how successful Pakistan has been in the past. All these 60+ years, Pakistan has not been able to gain one square inch in Kashmir. If that is the record even with all the free US military hardware meant to fight communism, I think the risks for India are minimal. With all the advantages of surprise, Pakistan could not even pull off Kargil!Recommend

  • hedgefunder
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:02PM

    @G. Din:
    I acknowledge your comment, however India at present is on right course to continue building its economic base, eradicating poverty, creating a social balance in the society etc..
    does not need to divert its attention to worrying about the antics that are likely to take place with these types of deals.
    Kashmir is ok and doing well economically too, as tourists have started returning to the valleys and lakes, the infrastructure building and further development projects are taking place without any hinderance.
    Let the people of Kashmir enjoy the economic benefits of the progress made and no doubt they will, as their incomes will rise and lifestyles will improve. Which is lot more can be said about their breathen across the border.
    So why even consider risking the progress for these types of deals, where the problems will return before the ink has dried on the paper, and once more the denial games will begin .

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  • Jahanzeb Khan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:07PM

    @G. Din:
    It’s a pity that you have always compared yourself with a nation which is 8 times, listen again 8 times smaller than you.. But when your size matched for the first and the only time with a neighbor of your size… The world has seen the results… How you surrendered ? Go, deny that… !!! Winning with a Neighbor of 8 times smaller is no feat. Have you gained a single Inch from your Northern Neighbor China, Mr. Tarzan? And Mark my words , you will never. LOL. As far as the Kashmir is concerned, You can not stop it from freedom. It’s simply a matter of time.No Power is superpower but God. It’s the same God who Got two Super powers defeated in Afghanistan. You do not even count.
    @hedgefunder:
    India also have Non-State actors like.. Bal Thakre, Col. Prohit, Narendra Modi( now state) …. Why to cry? You go blind when it comes to see your own inside terrorists?Recommend

  • Jay
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:43PM

    @Jahanzeb Khan:
    The border fight of 1962 is hardly representative of India’s abilities. India was barely recovering from the total depravation of colonialism and did not have a worthwhile defense as compared to China, where the communists were spending their entire resources on the military. Even the Chinese realized back then, that fighting India was not wise in the long-term and they gave back all the territory they occupied in 1962.

    China and India have co-existed for thousands of years without conflict and that is unlikely to change. As far as the difference in currrent capabilities, it is merely due to the 13 year head-start of China. Expect that to disappear in the next 10 years as India mounts a huge economic and defense expansion.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:59PM

    Demilitarisation, no way since there is no indication from across the border of any change in their decades old policy.

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  • Menon
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:43PM

    What? Does Indian leadership has a suicide wish? What is needed really is laser guided automatic weapons to shoot and kill infriltarting terrorists.

    Which dumb and stupid started this rumor? Hope it is a rumor!

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  • hedgefunder
    Dec 27, 2011 - 8:26PM

    @Menon:
    Yes ! Let us hope this is rumour, as the current political leadership in India has shown its inability to deal with its neighbour.
    This is not some thing that can ever be considered, as viable by Indian leadership, as the history is there to be viewed.
    Furthermore one really does not know, where Pakistani leadership is going to be, or for that matter who actually will be in power in near future.

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  • Raj - USA
    Dec 27, 2011 - 9:05PM

    @Jahanzeb Khan:

    If winning a neighbor 8 times smaller is no feat, stop boasting how Pakistan crushed USSR.

    You may consider Narendra Modi as a terrorist but your all-weather friend China considers Narendra Modi as their best friend. They have invested US Dollars 600 million in his state Gujrat just this year alone, which is more than what they have invested in the whole of Pakistan. Go complain to them and preach them your wisdom.

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  • Bambbaayyaa
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:22PM

    @ Janzeb …
    You are actually bellittelling yourself…. hehe

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  • Jahanzeb Khan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:37PM

    @Jay:
    YAh Yah whatever Whatever!!11 Blah Blah Blah.. You think you can fight with them?? Or will you ever be able to? I don’t think so.. You can Only do things like Tamil tigers and inject into Sri Lanka etc. etc. It was you and your Super Hero Nehru Who had a desire of expansion towards the North and he undertook this adventure.. go deny it… Common… and I will give you references of your own Writers of History… and until Chinese beat you , you did not understand that every country is not Sri Lanka. As far as 13 years are concerned.You will never be able to challenge China I can give you in writing. Power of Guns matter less when you have to fight a nation. Proof is USSR and America in Afghanistan. I don’t think your beloved Leadership will every commit such folly.
    @Raj – USA:
    LOL. No we and China are good friends. We don’t complain to each other like You who keep crying all the time. Just grow up someday, is dreams of many except us. Narendra Modi is a Criminal and not Only We say it but many Indians have the same opinion. That Hindu terrorist can not make disappear the event of Gujarat Massacre from the eyes of the world. It will remain there, no matter how much you defend it. You know what’s best way of handling it? Simply, do not commit such genocides. Recommend

  • Someone
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:06PM

    The rhetoric coming from these Indian trolls seems as if they wish war rather than peace…

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  • You Said It
    Dec 28, 2011 - 1:11AM

    @Jahanzeb Khan:

    You seem to be have bought the whole hog into the crap on Pakistan’s urdu channels. Don’t know what you’re so worked up about.

    India’s strategy to the north is to keep China at bay. In 1962, Indian Army was under 2.5 lakh soldiers, while China had over 2 million — India was unprepared with the “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai” crap that Nehru bought into from Mao and Zhou Enlai (just like your all-weather-friendship). Today, India hosts the Tibetan govt in exile, lets the Dalai Lama openly criticize China, our govt-owned ONGC drills in the South China Sea, etc — and even though India has less than a million soldiers to China’s 2+ million and the economy is 1/3 the size, China can go blue in the face with rage but can’t lift a finger. Now I think that’s just lovely.

    Also, Pakistan’s population is 1/6 of India’s not 1/8. The Pak army though has 5 lakh soldiers which makes it 1/2 the size. But India is the status quo favorite, which Pak wants to change. So its strategy against Pakistan is to keep it economically on the back foot by over-spending on an army it can’t afford. I’d say its working. But you can go, deny that.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 28, 2011 - 1:30AM

    A simple proposal which has troops moving away from a conflicted border should be appreciated by everyone — but it’s apparent that that the hatred/bias runs deep as there are plenty of posters on both sides who think this is a stupid idea. I think this is a great idea and poses no significant risk to anyone — Pakistan can’t afford to start another war with India and India has yet to start a conflict with Pakistan – seems as good a time as any to take a step towards peace.

    Recommend

  • delhi_se
    Dec 28, 2011 - 2:41AM

    @Jahanzeb Khan: You Pakistanis have never learned to provide any evidence on what you state. World works on data and facts and not just imaginations. So I will not talk about the wars you are presuming you won with India. About your wimp about non state actors in India. Please again, provide facts, data, news article or even conspiracy theory published anywhere which shows them doing any killing or terrorism like your local heroes does every now and then within your country and outside. 30000 dead in your country by your own people. Is it not a genocide ? First please get yourself educated and at least use dictionary while blogging to understand the meaning of words you use. Dont use them just because they amuse you.

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  • Rationale
    Dec 28, 2011 - 2:42AM

    @Someone: With Pakistan , Yes I do not expect anything less than that.

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  • Rationale
    Dec 28, 2011 - 2:46AM

    @Jahanzeb Khan: Only Pakistanis wish for once there is a non muslim terrorist and hence they try to forcefully coin the term “Hindu terrorist”. Havent heard this from any other media including your beloved China. But I really love to see you loosing your peace by reading other’s comment. Please continue :)

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  • Rationale
    Dec 28, 2011 - 2:50AM

    This is a complete tragedy to strategic planning. India’s military presence was forced due to terrorism and proxy war by Pakistan. Not a wise idea for India to back off it;s army. We are unfortunately stuck with a neighbor which is a failed state and has nothing to loose on trying adventurism and sending more terrorists just for the kick of it. And the Pakistani citizen will very gleefully support these adventures. Recommend

  • rk from NY
    Dec 28, 2011 - 5:16AM

    looks like pak is on defensive…panicking perhaps..?? why else would they suggest to india to remove heavy artillary..??? and India being a superior military power with rising econmy andhigh world rankings, even bother with amafia outfit like pak is beyond understanding….pak should be ignored and isolated…

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  • waseem
    Dec 28, 2011 - 8:18AM

    India should vacate Siachin,which it invaded in 1989

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 28, 2011 - 10:45AM

    @Rationale:
    You toddlers have absolutely no idea what you are wishing for. one nuke on your mumbai would cripple india enough to beg for ceasefire

    Recommend

  • Malatesh
    Dec 28, 2011 - 11:11AM

    @Jahanzeb Khan:

    You dont have any rights to blame innocent Narendra Modi for Gujarat Riots where thousands of Hindus also died.

    Allah is with Narendra Modi.

    Narendra Modi zindabad, long live Narendra modi.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Dec 28, 2011 - 11:36AM

    @Sundeep:Ever heard of King Bruce and the spider

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Dec 28, 2011 - 12:06PM

    @delhi_se:

    You Pakistanis have never learned to
    provide any evidence on what you
    state. World works on data and facts
    and not just imaginations

    What next? Are you going to claim that Pakistanis are not Arabs? Not a single Pakistani will ever believe you.

    Recommend

  • Surya
    Dec 28, 2011 - 6:31PM

    @Hu Jintao:
    “Beg for ceasefire” Lol..When India retaliates, you’ll be wiped off the map.So need to beg…I guess your mind don’t understand the consequences of a nuclear war..Grow some brain..Recommend

  • Shyam
    Dec 28, 2011 - 7:40PM

    @Hu Jintao
    one nuke on your mumbai would cripple india enough to beg for ceasefire

    One nuke on Mumbai and the India wont have Pakistan around much longer for anything else

    Recommend

  • Babloo
    Dec 29, 2011 - 3:46AM

    Pakistan has been on a suicidal path since 1947. Why does India want to interfere ?

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  • A Fahran
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:48AM

    @Jahanzeb Khan:
    Being an Afghan, I know what you mean and that applies to Afghanistan too. if Afghans demand their right share of land, Pakistan will be left to peanuts.If one goes back to history or uses religion or culture commonalities, entire YES entire northwestern frontier of Pakistan is a part of Afghanistan!!! India is being very patient with Pakistan. If Indians insist on only land aquisition, they would have pushed Kashmiris out of their land long time ago. Balochistan has more in common with our Afghan culture and Iranian culture-shall we fight and get it back. Because the muslim card which Pakistan seems to use can be used by indians as history card or by Afghans as culture card. So do not keep saying your version that itself may cost Pakistan its current area…. what applies to you also applies to your neighbours….

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