Ahead of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s maiden visit to Pakistan, the Indian Army has outright rejected any suggestion of demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir, saying such a step would be "fatal" in the given terrorism - hit situation of the state.
"The withdrawal of forces would be fatal," a spokesman of the Indian Army said in Jammu on Monday. He said that the state that has suffered four invasions, three from Pakistan and one from China since independence and currently witnessing terrorism cannot afford any such measure that comprises with the defence and the internal security of the nation.
"Even if normalcy is restored and peace returns within the state, troops can go back to the barracks but 'demilitarisation' as such cannot be considered as the requirement of defending the country’s borders still remains paramount, in fact, non-negotiable."
The statement, that asserts the requirement of the troops in the state, has coincided four days before External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is to leave for his maiden visit to Pakistan, where among other things the four-point formula of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Jammu and Kashmir is expected to come up for discussions.
The demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the main and pronounced components of the four-point formula of Pakistan President Musharraf.
The spokesman said, "disarmament" along the Line of Control (LoC) dividing line between Indian and Pakistani parts of Jammu and Kashmir is not possible. He has given a historical background of this.
The LoC originated in 1949 as a 'Ceasefire line' at the end of the first Indo-Pak was in 1947-48. It was slightly altered during the 1965 was and December 1971 was with Pakistan. The Inter-Governmental Agreement renamed it as the Line of Control in July 1972 to be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognised position of either side. It is 740 km long.
The south of LoC is another 200 km of a ‘working boundary’ between Jammu and Punjab Province of Pakistan. At its northern end, the LoC terminates at a point called NJ 9842 in the high Himalayas beyond which lies a 76 km-long glacial region, Siachen contested between India and Pakistan and then the Chinese territory.
"The Pakistani demand for demilitarisation has also been voiced and repeated parrot-like by the separatist leaders of the Valley who only recently praised the role of Indian Army which provided succour to the victims of ‘Snow tsunami’ in February-March, of earthquake in October last year and of floods in September this year. Hundreds and thousands of Kashmiri lives were saved and the programme of rehabilitation of victims won worldwide acclaim," the spokesman said.
The Army has also termed the idea of joint management as "dangerous" Pakistan is also toying with the idea of an ‘out-of-box’ solution called ‘Joint Management’ of the whole of Jammu and Kashmir state. It is a dangerous proposal for India because it will dilute India’s control in two-thirds of the original J&K state. Besides, there cannot be a ‘Joint Management’ between a military dictatorship called Pakistan and democracy like India," he said.
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