India rejects Pakistani call to shift heavy weapons from Kashmir
PAKISTAN: India has rejected a Pakistani proposal that all
heavy weapons be removed from disputed Kashmir, a Pakistani official
However, the two sides agreed that they would not set up new military
posts along the heavily militarized frontier, known as the Line of
Control, in the Himalayan region.
Senior officials of the nuclear-armed rivals held talks in Islamabad
on Thursday on confidence-building measures in conventional weaponry, as
part of a peace process aimed at ending a half-century of hostility.
Tariq Usman Haider, head of the Pakistan delegation, said Pakistan
proposed moving all heavy weapons above 120mm caliber from Jammu and
Kashmir. India did not accept the proposal, saying it was its sovereign
right to decide where to deploy its forces, he said.
"We have made a very serious and sincere proposal to reduce the
threat along the Line of Control, and that is ... redeployment by both
sides of artillery, guns, rockets and mortars above 120mm," he told
"The Indian side was not ready to accept this," he said.
At an earlier joint news conference, Dilip Sinha, chief of the Indian
delegation, was asked about Pakistan's hope for demilitarization in
Kashmir, and he stressed that deployment of troops was India's
"We have made our position quite clear that the deployment of force
in any part of India is the sovereign right of the country and it is
taken in conjunction with the security situation," Sinha said.
Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars since
independence in 1947 over Kashmir, which is divided between them but
claimed by both. India accuses Pakistan of helping Islamic militants to
cross the frontier to launch attacks on Indian security forces in
Kashmir. Pakistan denies it.
Thursday's talks follow two days of discussions over
nuclear-confidence-building measures - part of a wide-ranging dialogue
initiated in early 2004 to try to resolve their long-standing difference
over Kashmir and other issues.
Haider said that at the talks on nuclear confidence-building, the two
sides exchanged four drafts for an agreement aimed at preventing any
unauthorized or accidental use of nuclear weapons.
He criticized a deal U.S. President George W. Bush signed with India
last month that would provide New Delhi with civilian nuclear
"We have made it plain, our feeling is that this is not a positive
development in terms of strategic stability," Haider said. "We will
certainly maintain our credible deterrent, whatever developments may
take place across our border." Islamabad, Friday, AP