Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pakistan Skeptical on India Plan, But Does Not Reject Outright - 2002-06-05

Pakistan says it is not against India's proposal for joint patrolling of the cease-fire line in Kashmir if India proposes it formally for negotiation. But Pakistan is skeptical such a plan would work in today's tense climate.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has said his country is ready for joint monitoring of the disputed Kashmir border to verify that Muslim militants are not crossing into Indian territory.

Pakistani Information Minister Nisar Memon, speaking to reporters, says his country is not opposed to the idea. But he says if New Delhi is serious about such a move, it should discuss it at the negotiating table and not through the media.

"I think [India] need to come and say, here we are. We want to have dialogue with you and this is our first proposal," he told reporters. "We will go forward. There is a proposal from a country and to whom is this proposal, not to the world, not to the media. [If] it is to Pakistan then they should formally present it to Pakistan. Let that be the first point on how we proceed. This is how the ice can be broken."

India says it will de-escalate tensions and resume talks after Pakistan stops militants from crossing into Indian Kashmir. Pakistan says it is willing to allow neutral observers to verify that the infiltration has ended.

Pakistani information minister Memon says India's proposal for joint patrolling could be the result of diplomatic pressure on India to defuse border tensions with Pakistan and enter into a dialogue. "This is not anything new," he said. "Pakistan has already received some proposals of this kind on the international borders and we believe that, given the present Pakistan-India relationship, the mechanisms that will have to be developed for joint patrolling are unlikely to work."

Tensions between India and Pakistan are running high over the disputed region. Both countries are under intense international pressure to avoid another conflict.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is scheduled to discuss the crisis with leaders in Pakistan on Thursday. He will travel to New Delhi on Friday for similar talks with Indian leaders.