Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday asked Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to specify his definition of demilitarisation and said that it was possible if it meant "reduction of forces engaged for maintenance of internal law and order within the state".
He told President Musharraf that the possibility of the reduction of troops engaged in counter insurgency operations in the state lies with Pakistan and Pakistan alone.
Pointing towards the assistance and support in arming and training of militants from across the border, which according to Azad was the "root cause for the deployment of these forces", he said, "when you stop indulgence in such activities and allow peace to prevail, forces would automatically leave the task of anti-terrorism and anti-militant activities. Otherwise, they are required to provide safety and security to the people."
He stressed that Pakistan should take adequate measures to stop abetment, armament and encouragement of trans-border militancy, adding that "one should not expect that the General's statement has any relevance to the management of borders and the security of the country".
Replying to the discussion on the governor's address in the legislative council on Tuesday, the chief minister said that instead of floating proposals via media and for publicity sake, these could be discussed across the table in right forums.
He also suggested that India and Pakistan could discuss such issues in composite dialogues, which are scheduled to start in March.
He said a three-pronged strategy to address all issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir, strengthening of Indo-Pak friendship and carrying forward the dialogue process with separate groups was already in place and that both state and central governments were positively contributing towards carrying it forward successfully.
He said the constitution of five working groups has proved highly fruitful and their speedy completion of deliberations to come up with recommendations is unprecedented.
He also lauded Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee's dialogue in Pakistan.
Email Arun Joshi: firstname.lastname@example.org