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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs