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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs