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Updated: May 3, 2012 23:19 IST

Kayani pitches for CBMs with India

Anita Joshua
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General Ashfaq Kayani
General Ashfaq Kayani

Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday made out a case for Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) with India as a way forward to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries. On Siachen issue, he said a peaceful resolution would be the best way out but “short of that we will do what we are supposed to do.”

On his third visit to the Gayari sector in the Siachen glacier area, where 139 men of the 6 Northern Light Infantry were buried alive in an avalanche on April 7, the COAS referred to peaceful resolution of the issue at least thrice in his interaction with the media but pointed out that there had been a regression in the talks after India shifted its goalpost.

Gen. Kayani said India had asked for demarcation of the Line of Control (LoC) during the last Defence-Secretary-level talks on Siachen, which are held as part of the composite dialogue process. This, according to him, was a shift in the New Delhi's position, as earlier the term being used was “authentication [of the ground positions] in the area north of NJ 9842” — the northernmost point of the LoC.

Asked if he had seen any willingness on the Indian side to engage with Pakistan following the avalanche and his own call for demilitarisation of Siachen, he said: “In Pakistan, it has got across-the-board support. It has been received positively in India also, except with some ifs and buts. That is understandable because there have to be CBMs between the two countries and then we have to move forward. Let's hope we can move forward.”

Gen. Kayani remained non-committal when asked whether there would be any discussion on Siachen between the civil and military leadership of the country after the avalanche and if there was a revision in Pakistan's policy on the issue.

Gen. Kayani said the rescue operations would not be called off though nearly a month since the avalanche not a single person has been recovered dead or alive. “The minimum we can do is to recover the bodies.”

As for declaring them dead as suggested by the father of one of the victims, he said that was a separate issue that has to be decided in consultation with family members and others, keeping in mind people's sentiments.

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As a Pakistani, I can understand JK Dutt's point of view. Especially
the 2008 Mumbai attacks were an ugly episode and served to strain the
relations between the two countries greatly. I can only hope that no
such ugly episode happens which makes a normal relationship elusive. I
hope Pakistan's army chief plays a positive and commendable role in
this regard. Shanmuganathan has a point as well but in Pakistan, as far as foreign policy and India policy is concerned, it is the army who calls the shots. So the government will say whatever the chief recommends. In terms of importance, Gen Kayani's statement has more weight than what the foreign office or the Prime Minister or President would say.

from:  Rabbani
Posted on: May 6, 2012 at 05:10 IST

The suggestion on the Siachen issue by Gen,Kayani may be a good initiative,but the suggestion should come from the
Govt of Pakistan.

from:  V.Shanmuganathan
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 16:15 IST

Pakistan has the habit of expressing such bullshit from time to time. The biggest danger for a gullible India is to fall for this kind of rubbish. The plain fact of life is, there can never be any question of improving relations between India and Pakistan till the Kashmir problem is resolved, a problem that neither side wants to settle. India meekly surrendered our superior military victories to Pakistan at Tashkent and especially at Shimla without pressurising it on Kashmir although we held all the aces. Reportedly, Indira Gandhi and Zulfi Bhutto came to a tacit understanding at Shimla in this context. India has to take two unlateral decisions if we are serious: one, convert the LOC from Kathua to Poonch to Pt NJ 9842 into a formal border; and two, vacate Siachen Glacier as this 20,000 feet high ice desert has no value other than ego value.

from:  JK Dutt
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 12:19 IST
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