Friday, October 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak also to withdraw forces

Islamabad, October 17
Giving a “positive response” to India’s decision to pull back troops from the Indo-Pak border, Pakistan today announced it would “shortly” withdraw its forces as well to their “peace-time locations.”

“The government of Pakistan has decided to withdraw its forces from Pakistan-India border to their peace-time locations,” a Foreign Ministry statement said, shortly after Islamabad described the Indian move as a “step in the right direction”

The decision was taken at a high-powered meeting chaired by President Pervez Musharraf.

India yesterday announced the pullback of the troops deployed along the international border with Pakistan but said there would be no change in the deployment along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi also ruled out the resumption of a dialogue with Islamabad till it ended cross-border terrorism.

Earlier, a statement by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Islamabad welcomed India’s decision to withdraw the troops from the Indo-Pak border.

“The government of Pakistan regards the Indian Government’s decision for a withdrawal of its armed forces from the border as a step in the right direction. The implementation on the ground of the Indian Government’s decision will receive positive and timely response from Pakistan”, the statement said.

NEW DELHI: India, meanwhile, has reacted cautiously to Pakistan’s decision to withdraw its forces from the border, saying that any action by Islamabad would make sense only if it stopped cross-border terrorism.

“Our decision to withdraw our forces from the international border with Pakistan was not taken with an expectation of what Pakistan will do,’’ official sources said.

India also rejected reports that the reduction of troops from the international border with Pakistan was taken under US pressure, stating that the demobilisation decision was made in the national interest. PTI, UNI


India’s decision wins kudos

Washington, October 17
The international community today hailed India’s decision to pull back its troops from the border with Pakistan, describing the move as a “responsible step” towards easing of tension in the region.

“We certainly have been calling for quite some time for lessening of (Indo-Pak) tension and standing down of the military forces. We certainly are happy to hear about the Indian decision,” US officials said.

In Moscow, Kremlin officials said: “This is a very responsible step taken by the Indian Government after the successful elections in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Britain said it was a “positive move” that could lead to a “full and substantive dialogue” between India and Pakistan.

Japan said it highly valued the Indian decision as “this is an important initiative taken by India, which is responsible for maintaining peace and stability in South Asia.”

Reacting to India’s decision Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Beijing welcomed the move, according to a report from Beijing. PTI

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