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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs