Thursday, July 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

India, Pak in de-escalation mode
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
India and Pakistan are on a de-escalation mode — diplomatically as well as militarily — despite New Delhi’s concerns about Islamabad’s continued cross-border infiltration and heavy shelling along the Line of Control (LoC).

Confirming this, well-placed sources here chose not to divulge the details of the military de-escalation. Asked if the strike corps of the Indian Army is going to be pulled back or redeployed, the sources said though India was no longer on an offensive mode, it was necessary to keep the offensive option intact in some theatres of war.

It is understood that the two neighbours are going to have full-fledged High Commissioners in place in each other’s country “fairly soon”, probably within this month.

While Mr Harsh Bhasin’s name as India’s High Commissioner in Islamabad has been cleared by the government here, the Pervez Musharraf regime is also going to soon decide on the name of who would fill the hottest diplomatic seat.

Senior Pakistani diplomats, Mr Kamran Niazi and Mr Akbar Zeb, are believed to be front runners for the post of Pakistan’s next High Commissioner to India.

Sources told The Tribune today that though the war of words was unlikely to stop between the two hostile neighbours, the military situation was that both countries were on a de-escalation mode.

At the same time, it does not mean that people of the subcontinent are going to witness withdrawal of troops from the borders. What it does mean is that the two countries are no longer on a war mode, the sources clarified.

Mr Bhasin is understood to be preparing for his new assignment and is busy taking briefings from various quarters.

However, the sources ruled out a fresh round of de-escalatory announcements by the Vajpayee government in the immediate future.

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