Pakistan Chief of Army Staff satisfied by morale, preparedness among troops in forward localities

Amid prevailing tension along the Line of Control and signs that India and Pakistan are moving towards dialogue, Indian High Commissioner T.C.A. Raghavan on Tuesday paid a courtesy call to Sartaz Aziz, Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, here. Dr. Raghavan termed it as an introductory visit.

According to a statement made by the Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Mr. Aziz stressed the importance of resuming the bilateral dialogue process. He reiterated Nawaz Sharif’s commitment for normalising relations with India and picking up the threads from the Lahore Declaration of 1999.

Mr. Aziz is said to have been critical of the Indian media’s “over-reaction” to the LoC incidents and indicated that both sides needed to show maturity and move forward to resolve outstanding issues.

Dr. Raghavan, in his turn, said that while India was keen to resume engagement, the incidents along the LoC had raised doubts over Pakistan’s sincerity. He pointed out that the upcoming Mumbai visit of the Pakistan judicial commission would help forge a common policy on combating terrorism and removing global misperceptions.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — who on Tuesday visited the forward localities along the LoC — reportedly showed “complete satisfaction on the state of morale, operational preparedness and vigil being maintained by troops [there]”. He also paid rich tributes to the “supreme sacrifices of the officers and men of Pakistan Army along the LOC”.

Earlier, on arrival at the LoC, General Kayani was briefed by the local formation commander about the prevailing security situation and high state of alertness being maintained by the troops.

Several lives have been lost on both sides as a result of firing along the LoC and have exacerbated tensions between the two neighbouring nations. While Pakistan has been offering a joint investigation, India has not accepted it and maintains the Pakistan Army was responsible for killing five soldiers in August. Pakistan too has, in its turn, suffered casualties and been calling for restraint from India. Despite the standoff, backchannel talks are in progress between India and Pakistan in preparation for a possible meeting in New York between the two Prime Ministers later this month on the sidelines of the United General assembly.