April 2005 News

India Proposes More CBMs Along LoC

16 April 2005
The Nation

Islamabad: As President Pervez Musharraf began his three-day visit to watch cricket and hold unstructured talks with the Indian leadership, New Delhi has used the opportunity to propose a series of new confidence- building measures along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir which include more communication and road links and meeting points for the divided families. India has proposed Saturday that traditional communication and bus links like Kargil-Skardu and the ones in Poonch and Rajouri should be revived. Apart from this, relatives on either side should be allowed to meet at several points on LoC, including Poonch, Mendhar, Suchetgarh, Uri and Tangdar. It has also proposed promotion and development of international trade, promotion of cultural interaction and cooperation across LoC. As part of these seven CBMs, India has also proposed that a mechanism for permitting pilgrims on both sides to visit Sikh and Hindu temples and Muslim shrines, including Sharda temple, Pir Chinnasi, Gurdwara Chattipatshahi be made. India has also proposed joint promotion of tourism and exploration of possibilities for cooperation in the management of environment and forestry resources. Meanwhile, addressing a Press conference in New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said that India was committed to a long-term solution to the Kashmir dispute. 'We are looking at a solution for Kashmir through CBMs, that will then create a long-term solution,' he added. An hour- long meeting of high-powered Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was held on Saturday before arrival of President Musharraf. Sources say this was a preliminary work for the proposal of the new seven CBMs announced after President Musharraf reached the Indian capital. In the meeting the situation along the international border and the LoC was reviewed as it was directly related to the new confidence-building measures. The CCS meeting was attended by Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, National Security Advisor MK Narayanan and Army Chief General JJ Singh. Pranab Mukherjee said that all the subjects that are likely to figure during Musharraf's visit were discussed at the CCS meeting. However, he declined to elaborate. 'The situation was reviewed before the Pakistani President's visit. We can't give out any details till the visit is over,' he said.


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