India confirms Pak troop reduction at border | india | Hindustan Times
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India confirms Pak troop reduction at border

india Updated: May 13, 2009 00:19 IST
Tushar Srivastava

Pakistan HAS shifted some troops from its eastern border with India to its restive western border with Afghanistan, a top government official confirmed to HT here on Tuesday.

“There has been a ‘thinning’ of troops but they have ‘many more’ which can be moved out,” the official, who did not wish to be named, said. This is the first official confirmation from India of Islamabad moving out troops from its border with India.

“This is a unilateral decision (by Pakistan) and has nothing to do with a similar reduction by India. We are under no pressure from the US, nor have we been approached by the Americans on this front,” the official said.

Pakistan’s move, he said, also shows there is no threat to it from its eastern border; the real threat is from its border with Afghanistan, now a safe haven for the Taliban.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had earlier said in Washington that Islamabad had started moving troops from its border with India. However, there had so far been no confirmation of this from the Indian side.

“We’ve had some cold times and we’ve had some hot times with them (India), but democracies are always trying to improve relationships,” Zardari had said in an interview to PBS public television in Washington last Friday. “I’ve always considered India a neighbour we want to improve our relationship with...”

The Pakistan President had denied the US had a role in that decision. “No. It was the demand-based proposition; when demand goes up, we shift.”

“There is an active threat on the Afghan border from our side, from their side, from within the mountains, and that’s where we’re engaged today. Today’s war for the perceivable future for the world and for us is that area,” he had said.