News / Asia

Indian, Pakistani Army Commanders Meet on Kashmir

FILE - Indian Border Security Force soldiers patrol over a footbridge built over a stream near the Line of Control, a cease-fire line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, at Sabjiyan sector of Poonch district, August 2013.
FILE - Indian Border Security Force soldiers patrol over a footbridge built over a stream near the Line of Control, a cease-fire line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, at Sabjiyan sector of Poonch district, August 2013.
Ayaz Gul
— Pakistan and India have agreed to take steps to ensure a cease-fire along the Line of Control in disputed Kashmir. The agreement came at a Tuesday meeting of senior military commanders, the first such interaction in 14 years.

The much-anticipated meeting lasted two hours and took place at the Wagah crossing near Pakistan's city of Lahore. Both sides have described the talks between their Director Generals Military Operations [DGMOs] as “cordial, constructive, and fruitful.”

A joint statement issued after the meeting says that Pakistan's Major-General Aamer Riaz and his Indian counterpart, Lt. General Vinodh Bhatia, discussed ways to de-escalate tensions along the Line of Control [LoC], which divides Kashmir between the nuclear-armed neighbors. It added that the DGMOs also agreed to “re-energize existing mechanisms” to maintain peace and cease-fire” of the de facto border.

Map showing India and Pakistan controlled Kashmir and the Line of ControlMap showing India and Pakistan controlled Kashmir and the Line of Control
x
Map showing India and Pakistan controlled Kashmir and the Line of Control
Map showing India and Pakistan controlled Kashmir and the Line of Control
A mutual cease-fire in Kashmir has largely held since 2003 with occasional low-level violations. This year, however, saw an increase in incidents. A series of clashes caused the death of several soldiers on both sides and strained bilateral ties. Each side blamed the other for starting the incidents.

But tensions in Kashmir have largely subsided since Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office in June and promised to improve ties with India.

Officials and analysts, however, do not foresee the resumption of a wide-ranging “composite” dialogue on long-running disputes including Kashmir until after India’s general elections due by May of next year.

Speaking to VOA prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Pakistan’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, reported progress in bilateral contacts, but admitted the formal dialogue will have to wait until after the Indian elections.

“The dialogue is being resumed in some sectors like trade, power purchase [from India], visa agreement and a couple of other things," said Aziz. "So, it is resuming but obviously, the broader issues probably will have to wait 'til after the elections and I hope that there will be major improvement in both the dialogue process and the relationship after the elections.”

For its part, India apparently has shown little interest in the resumption of the broad-based peace dialogue and wants Islamabad to meet certain conditions. These include speeding up of the trial of several Pakistani suspects accused of playing a role in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, Aziz reiterated that India and Pakistan need to take urgent steps to pull out forces from the disputed Siachen Glacier.

“We have been discussing the Siachen issue with India and there has been a lot of progress, but every time on the basis of some small issues the whole thing gets stuck. But now I think the environmental lobbies in both India and Pakistan should press their respective governments to resolve this issue as early as possible because the environmental damage that we are causing to Siachen since 1984 is irreparable if we don’t solve that problem quickly,” said Aziz.

The standoff on Siachen began in 1984 when Indian troops took control of heights on the uninhibited glacier, and Pakistan established posts on its side. Since then, the conflict has cost billions of dollars and killed thousands of soldiers. Both sides blame extreme weather for most of the deaths.

The glacier is at the northern tip of the Kashmir boundary. Pakistani officials believe that Siachen is the easiest of all the disputes plaguing bilateral relations. But officials in Islamabad are reported as saying that New Delhi wants to address the issue as part of an overall settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid