India Spurns Pak LoC Proposals
27 April 2006
Islamabad: Pakistan and India have agreed on four Confidence Building Measures, which are aimed at avoiding conflict between the two countries. However, New Delhi rejected Islamabad proposal to reduce heavy weaponry along the Line of Control (LoC). The consensus on some conventional CBMs was developed between Pakistan and India during their third round of expert level dialogue on conventional Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) held here on Thursday. The Pakistan delegation was led by Tariq Osman Hyder, Additional Secretary (United Nations), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while Dilip Sinha, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, led the Indian delegation to the talks. Addressing a press stake out at the end of the meeting, both the leaders termed the one-day talks positive. According to a joint statement issued later, the two sides agreed on four CBMs, including finalization of border ground rules for implementation along the international border and elaboration of agreement on no development of new posts and defence works along the LoC. The other CBMs agreed between them include modalities for holding quarterly flag meetings, and on needs basis, at sector level commanders in already agreed sectors and the finalization of an agreement on speedy return of inadvertent line crosser(s). Osman Hyder said although there are some areas where differences existed between the two countries but the spirit is there to resolve all the bilateral issues. Indian Joint Secretary Dilip Sinha said they discussed new ideas and exchanged views on different conventional subjects. Replying to a question on demilitarization and reduction of troops along the LoC, he said all their decisions were in conjunction with the security situation in India. To a question the Indian official said the issue of release of prisoners was not taken up during the talks. However, this is a part of their discussion and has been raised at different levels. To a question on Anti Ballistic Missiles (ABM), Osman Hyder said Pakistan is against introduction of ABM system in the region and it has a feeling that once such system is introduced it would destabilize the region. The statement said as mandated by foreign secretaries, the two sides continued consultations on security concepts to develop measures for confidence building in the conventional field aimed at avoidance of conflict. As indicated in the joint statement of 18 January 2006, the Pakistan side presented a draft agreement to the Indian side on the prevention of incidents at sea in order to ensure safety of navigation by naval vessels, and aircraft belonging to the two sides. Both sides agreed to periodically discuss further CBMs and to review and monitor the implementation of existing conventional CBMs as called for in the Lahore MoU of 1999 and as mandated by the foreign secretaries in the composite dialogue process. They also agreed to report the progress made in the present round of the talks to the respective foreign secretaries who will decide on the date and venue of the next expert level meeting on conventional CBMs. Later Osman Hyder briefing the media persons about the CBMs said Pakistan has proposed reduction of heavy weapons along both sides of the LoC and told India that there was no need for artillery guns, rockets and other heavy weapons over there, as they are needed for offensive purposes only. 'But India is not willing to accept our proposal calling it as its sovereign right'. He said Pakistan has also proposed another major CBM and that is no forward relocation of troops or cantonments close to our borders.