Pak media lauds troop cut
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Pak media lauds troop cut

Whether it is withdrawal or redeployment, one must welcome India's decision to cut down troops in Kashmir, says a leading Pak daily.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2006 18:23 IST

Be it redeployment or withdrawal, India's recent troop cut from the restive Jammu and Kashmir is seen as another move to bolster the peace process by the media in Pakistan.

India had on Monday announced that it would withdraw 5,000 troops. However, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had later denied that the pull out constituted a "withdrawal".

"Whether it is withdrawal or redeployment, one must welcome New Delhi's decision to cut down the number of troops in the occupied territory," Pakistan's leading daily Dawn said.

"It would be futile to go into the semantics of it and decide whether it was a withdrawal or a redeployment…What matters from the point of view of the people of Kashmir is that the occupation of forces are fewer by 5,000 soldiers," the paper said.

While sources at the higher level here said that the troops would be redeployed in the North East, some media reports said that New Delhi will be urgently despatching 300 commandos to Southern Afghanistan, where they will be deployed between Kandahar and Iranian border.

The editorial however wished that the pull out were substantial.

"Even though it is not much of a figure - given that India has over half-a-million troops in the valley…"

"Nevertheless, a troop cut of the kind announced by Mr Mukherjee holds out hopes that a higher level of withdrawal could be achieved if India changed its attitude towards the people of Kashmir," it added.

An estimated half-a-million soldiers are based in the Himalayan state.

New Delhi had earlier rejected proposals made by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to demilitarise three Indian Kashmir cities in an attempt to push talks over the issue.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have made little headway on the Kashmir issue.

First Published: Feb 10, 2006 17:59 IST