Border volatility: Amidst escalating tensions, Pakistan weighs its options

Published: August 12, 2013
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The two nations have been embroiled in a verbal duel since the August 6 cross-Line of Control raid that India blamed on Pakistan Army troops. PHOTO: FILE

The two nations have been embroiled in a verbal duel since the August 6 cross-Line of Control raid that India blamed on Pakistan Army troops. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

As India continues to seethe with anger over the August 6 ambush on the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistan has started examining several options, including scaling down its diplomatic staff in New Delhi and shifting troops from its border with Afghanistan to the eastern frontier, The Express Tribune has learnt.

This coincides with a message by Indian army chief General Bikram Singh to his troops to be “aggressive when it comes to dealing with the Pakistani forces” and comes five days after protesters tried to storm Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi.

“In view of serious threats to its diplomatic missions in India, Pakistan can withdraw some of its diplomatic staff,” a senior foreign ministry official told The Express Tribune. Coincidently, India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also demanded on Sunday that Islamabad pull out its high commissioner in New Delhi.

The two nations – which have fought three wars since their inception in 1947 – have been embroiled in a verbal duel since the August 6 cross-Line of Control raid that India blamed on Pakistan Army troops.

“Yes, we are thinking on these lines … a major chunk of the diplomatic staff in India could be withdrawn as the Indian government, despite repeated requisitions, did not arrange a foolproof security for our diplomatic missions there,” another foreign ministry official added. “Our High Commission in Delhi has reported suspicious movement of mobsters in the surrounding of offices and residences of our diplomatic staff in India.”

However, the official added that the final decision would be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Defence, the country’s highest forum on national security issues.

Military officials, meanwhile, reacted strongly to ‘unprovoked firing’ by Indian troops on Pakistani check posts in the Sialkot sector. “Pakistan Army will give a befitting response in case of further ceasefire violations,” a senior military official told The Express Tribune. He added that the army could ask the government to withdraw some troops from the border along Afghanistan and redeploy them to the eastern frontiers.

“The military brass has finalised this recommendation in internal meetings. And it would be presented in the DCC meeting,” the military official said. He requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister House confirmed to The Express Tribune that Nawaz Sharif will be convening the DCC meeting to discuss the latest internal and external security threats. Though no actual date has been fixed, the meeting is likely to be held within a week, the spokesperson said.

“The meeting will discuss the country’s internal and external security situation, particularly tension on eastern borders and regional security scenario,” said the spokesperson when asked about the agenda of the meeting. It will be the first meeting of the DCC since the PML-N government took charge after the May 11 elections.

A senior official said the prime minister has already received a foreign ministry recommendation that it scale down diplomatic staff in India following Wednesday’s abortive attempt by mobsters to storm Pakistan’s High Commission.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month. However, calls for postponing the meeting are growing shriller in New Delhi.

Indian opposition leader Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that his country’s patience was running out and demanded that not only India stop all dialogue with Pakistan but also send back Pakistan’s envoy in New Delhi, and recall Indian high commissioner from Islamabad.

Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid evaded a direct reply to a question on whether the New York rendezvous would materialise. The Pakistan government should own up the responsibility for the attacks on Indian soldiers and the firing on LoC in violation of the 2003 ceasefire.

He ruled out India’s directly approaching Pakistani army chief to ease tensions. “The responsibility must rest with the (their) government. Our meeting point is the civilian elected government of Pakistan, not the Pakistan Army or any other agency,” he told India’s CNN-IBN television in an interview.

Referring to Nawaz’s statement where he tried to deescalate the situation, Khurshid said there was no indication of acceptance of responsibility for the attack. “One element is that the regret about what has happened, which has certainly been mentioned. But, there is no indication of acceptance of responsibility,” he added.

“We have said that we expect responsibility. That hasn’t happened, one. Two, the other concern of what we have been expecting: culpability for what happened in Mumbai. There is no indication of that. And, finally, the statement doesn’t take into account, the outreach and the extra mile that India has periodically gone to overcome great difficulties posed,” Khurshid said.

Earlier this week, a bevy of strategic experts, including former military chiefs and top bureaucrats, asked the Indian government to stop talks with Pakistan till the country demonstrated some meaningful steps on combating terrorism.

In an unusual step, these experts, who are purportedly not affiliated to any political organisation, issued a press release which said: “The government would be well advised not to rush into a dialogue with Pakistan on the assumption that the new prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, is ostensibly committed to improving ties with India.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • Hindustani
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:24AM

    How befitting answer? Like surrendering by tens of thousands in 1973?

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  • Kachori-Samosa Chat
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:29AM

    I suggest recall your ambassador to India instead of scaling down the diplomatic staff. We will know that you mean business only after you have closed your embassy in Delhi altogether. Simultaneously India should also follow suit. Time to settle the matter once and for all. It will be better for both of us. These sporadic attacks on India coupled with the so-called peace talks are nothing but a sham. This farce must not be allowed to continue anymore.

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  • Falcon
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:31AM

    Indians are beginning to act like Americans. When they get bored, they fantasize about going for wars.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:42AM

    What on earth Pakistan government is doing, it should make clear to India or any body else that these talks are not only benefit Pakistan but India too. One should look at India’s other neighbors, do they have such a cordial relation with them as for example between neighbors like US,Canada and Mexico, I say not. There is no need of crawling to India, they are not squeaky clean country, it has been said that they are meddling in Pakistan through Afghanistan and may be even fanning sectarian violence, they are doing it in Kashmir. I think they are getting too big for their britches , they are acting like they are super power which they are not. India still has millions and millions of people who are living way below poverty line and they should be paying attention to them and improve their livelihood instead of this constant threats to it’s neighbors. They should be told in plain words that any dialogs is a two way affair so quit threatening to scuttle meetings or any meaningful talks. These talks has been going on for the last 64 years and the main bone of contention, Kashmir, is still the problem.

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  • jg
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:50AM

    Yeah:like we pakistanis are dying to have relations with India.why do they have such inferiority complex.

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  • Kachori-Samosa Chat
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:57AM

    Pakistan is playing a double game with India. Its civilian government talks peace whilst the army and jihadis keep attacking India. This double-game must not be allowed to continue anymore. Enough of this hypocrisy!

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  • Blithe
    Aug 12, 2013 - 5:02AM

    @Kachori-Samosa Chat:
    Recommend something more constructive.

    India has half a billion population without access to toilets. What are you going to do about that???

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  • Ali
    Aug 12, 2013 - 5:09AM

    Its nothing………….wait for more. pakistan never learnt not even after kargil

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  • Pakistan
    Aug 12, 2013 - 5:35AM

    Who needs India when you have China? Pakistan army should not be afraid of those who mistook planets for Chinese spy drones which goes to show their potential. This story a few weeks ago alone says it all.

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  • Hafiz
    Aug 12, 2013 - 5:43AM

    @jg:
    Straight and simple that we perceives -something messed up with concept like – pakistani, pak govt, pak army, pak agency and pak supported anti-india terror group.

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  • Brookside
    Aug 12, 2013 - 6:18AM

    @Blithe:
    We are building toilets but what are you going to do of millions of Pakistanis having access to guns or suicide ideology. Building toilets is easy than snatching guns or changing suicidal mindset. So try something else than this off beaten arguments about toilets.

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  • ALi Khan
    Aug 12, 2013 - 6:34AM

    No dilog with India thay dont undrestand the mening of dilog.

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  • Plaintalk
    Aug 12, 2013 - 6:37AM

    When commentators here start citing poop and poverty statistics, it simply means that Pakistanis are nervous. Nawaz is probably already practicing his groveling techniques.

    If a spanking is to come your way, boys, better take it from Congress. That Modi is going to be something else.

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  • Ali Shah
    Aug 12, 2013 - 7:07AM

    It seems that the Indian public laps up the propaganda from its govt far more easily than the public in Pakistan. And no, before the Indians jump to the conclusion that it is because of the credibility of the Indian govt, it is not because of the Indian govt’s credibility. Has more to do with a more servile mindset. Also, why does India have problems with each and every one of their neighbors? Some food for thought.

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  • Naveen
    Aug 12, 2013 - 7:20AM

    What a turnaround in a matter of weeks.

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  • Jim
    Aug 12, 2013 - 7:41AM

    Sad. This isn’t the best route to go down. Both countries will suffer, one more than the other.

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  • Asad Malik
    Aug 12, 2013 - 7:45AM

    @Kachori-Samosa Chat:

    Well India is creating problems in Balochistan so don’t try to act all high and mighty please.

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  • To mr Ali
    Aug 12, 2013 - 7:57AM

    dude pakistan won kargil, but when nawaz told our army to come down indian air forces started attacking, we thought india wanted to talk, but not they wanted to deceive

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  • js
    Aug 12, 2013 - 8:06AM

    Time and again we have both proved that we can’t handle peace. There is no point in talking, both countries need time to grow up and mature.
    Perhaps if we don’t engage for some time, maybe another 20 to 25 years, and leave negotiations for our children to conclude, they might be able to achieve results and allow people with the present mind set to die off.

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  • Ram Ram
    Aug 12, 2013 - 8:34AM

    @Naeem Khan
    You live comfortably in the USA and flaming this?!

    Despite your fantasy/ delusions about India’s neighbors, Nepal, srilanka, BD
    are all relatively peaceful and are prospering. They are not on constant war footing and are not exporting terrorism to the rest of the world.

    Recommend

  • Polpot
    Aug 12, 2013 - 8:35AM

    @Falcon: Indians are beginning to act like Americans. When they get bored, they fantasize about going for wars.””
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    eg Kargil.
    ( Another case of volatile memory)

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  • Polpot
    Aug 12, 2013 - 8:40AM

    @Blithe: India has half a billion population without access to toilets. What are you going to do about that???””
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Send them across the border where they will feel at home.

    Recommend

  • Polpot
    Aug 12, 2013 - 8:43AM

    @naeem khan Manhattan,Ks: There is no need of crawling to India, they are not squeaky clean country””
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Sir compared to the Pakistani image Indian emage is far superior. Hosting OBL being the epicentre of terrorism and running the nuclear walmart are not exactly image builders.

    Recommend

  • M
    Aug 12, 2013 - 9:18AM

    @jg:
    Can you kindly name one of Pakistan or Pakistani’s strength or achievement that we Indians are supposed to feel inferior about?

    Recommend

  • naive
    Aug 12, 2013 - 9:46AM

    @Blithe:” India has half a billion population without access to toilets. What are you going to do about that??? “

    Yes. We should dis-continue talks until these half a billion population is provided with toilets.

    Recommend

  • AliKuliKhan
    Aug 12, 2013 - 9:50AM

    The newly elected government is being given the message that the Army will continue to formulate foreign policy. The army has learnt not to confront the civilian government directly on matters which the army would like to keep in its domain. This method is more effective.

    Recommend

  • naive
    Aug 12, 2013 - 9:52AM

    @Ali Shah: “Also, why does India have problems with each and every one of their neighbors?”

    Have you ever thought why Pakistan has problems not only with every one of its neighbors like Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, but also with most of the countries around the world? Only possible exception is Saudi Arabia.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Aug 12, 2013 - 10:00AM

    @To mr Ali:
    ha ha ha………its too funny.

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  • Kamil
    Aug 12, 2013 - 10:02AM

    @Ram Ram: yeah like you fanatics are exporting terrorism from Afghanistan to Pakistan and crying foul at the same time

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  • vijay
    Aug 12, 2013 - 10:04AM

    @Ali Shah: Why entire world have problem with Pakistan. How are your relations with Afghanistan and Iran. Have you travel abroad? Go and find out the image of Pakistan. Pakistani in US and UK feel ashamed to call them self Pakistani, they say they are Indian.

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  • Two Armies Aman KI Asha
    Aug 12, 2013 - 10:07AM

    “Never ending TIT for TAT” can be stopped only if India and Pakistan talk to each other immediately or else situation will escalate and war is imminent and use of nuclear weapons are obvious and we have super powers asking us to stop the war as was the case during Vajpayee regime when India was all set for a war with Pakistan which was stopped by United States of America. Indian army and Pakistani army can put pressure on India and Pakistan government to go to war. Until Indian and Pakistani armies don’t become friends they will continue to fight along the LOC.

    Recommend

  • KAY
    Aug 12, 2013 - 11:17AM

    One solution is to make 50 Kms wide international boundary between the two borders and put UNO forces over there to be paid by both countries.

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  • James
    Aug 12, 2013 - 11:43AM

    @ALi Khan:
    Very true we don’t understand dilog

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  • reason
    Aug 12, 2013 - 12:21PM

    @Two Armies Aman KI Asha:

    That is the stupidest comment that i’ve read in the entire forum.

    You want both armies to become friends? That’s not what armies are for.

    This is not preschool, where we shake hands and drink juice.

    All that we have today is because of the fact that Pakistan invaded Kashmir, occupied it illegally.The Indian government at the time was too incompetent to resolve the issue, and still is today.

    Now the same issue has been dragged on year on year for political gains.

    I don’t know who shot whom in this scuffle, but i do know this – there’s no point discussing peace unless the Kashmir issue is resolved.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Aug 12, 2013 - 1:58PM

    Pakistan thinks NS visit to White house and UN in Sept is a golden opportunity to extract some mileage out of Americans prior to 2014. All this drama is also to prepare material for press interviews to show why she can not afford to move soldiers from eastern borders to western border to fight terrorists. Also to ask international community and Americans in particular to use their good office to solve K problem. Stay tune for more drama. Audience for this rubbish talk is USA not Joe average Pakistani.

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  • Last Word
    Aug 12, 2013 - 2:56PM

    India would welcome Pakistan deploying its armed forces and launch an attack as it would give India an excellent opportunity to settle Kashmir issue once for all.

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  • waqas
    Aug 12, 2013 - 3:30PM

    Indians are playing double games

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  • Kamil
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:07PM

    @Last Word: wake up we are not unarmed Muslim children, women and men of Gujarat that you would kill with no harm done to you.

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  • Joint Patrolling
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:32PM

    Joint patrolling by India and Pakistan army or International forces patrolling of LOC is the only solution for de-escalating and permanent solution to LOC clashes which is an obstacle for India-Pakistan trade,peace talks and Aman Ki Asha.

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  • B
    Aug 12, 2013 - 4:53PM

    @reason:
    Please see the five pictures, posted by the Chinese mouthpiece Xinhui:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2013-08/08/c_132611883.htm

    Did you see the banners the Chinese have put up for India.

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  • G. Din
    Aug 12, 2013 - 5:02PM

    “Wednesday’s abortive attempt by mobsters to storm Pakistan’s High Commission.”
    Mobsters? Did you mean “mobs”?
    Mobsters have no interest in attacking your High Commission. All of them live in Pakistan.

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  • anusha
    Aug 12, 2013 - 5:20PM

    on seeing all these ,,i can understand one thing,,,,,im sure pakistani school text books have one thing from kindergarten to secondary school,,,, and that thing is “”””INDIANS HAVE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF POOR PEOPLE WITH OUT FOOD”””””,,,this is the mantra they are chanting always,,,,good good!!!!!!

    Recommend

  • Son of Babur
    Aug 13, 2013 - 4:41PM

    @Hindustani:
    Remember Bangladesh killed 28 soldiers a couple of years ago?Recommend

  • Naya Pakistan
    Aug 13, 2013 - 6:02PM

    @anusha:
    According to UN statistics around four hundred million Indians live at or below the poverty line.

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  • Ahmed
    Aug 13, 2013 - 6:44PM

    @Anusha another thing is also clear…they teach in Indian schools to live in denial and suppress hundreds years of slavery mindset and blame all ills on Pakistan and our government doesn’t attack our own institutions like parliament building and frame a few Muslims and blame it on Pakistan….well done so far.

    Also UN is a Pakistani institution and India today a BJP inspired newspaper is owned by Pakistan as well.

    India has highest child mortality rate in the world, says UN report

    “With almost 19,000 children under five years of age dying every day across the world, India tops the list of countries with the highest number of 16.55 lakh such deaths in 2011, according to a UN agency.”

    Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/india-has-highest-child-mortality-rate-in-the-world-says-un-report/1/217109.html

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  • Californian Desi
    Sep 3, 2013 - 10:14PM

    @Asad Malik: “India is creating trouble in Balochistan”….has your government given you any proof till date or it is just all talks ? Is your military and intelligence far incapable or Indian intelligence is too much for you to handle ? Have you ever thought why world does not take you seriously ? It’s simply because you guys have only talks no concrete evidence to support what you speak. You expect world to listen to you without you ever submitting even an iota of evidence.

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