ISLAMABAD, Dec 27: Pakistan on Monday formally presented to India a list of 20 proposals on confidence-building measures, mostly in the security area which is of utmost concern to the people and governments of the region as well as the international community.
The proposals on strategic, conventional and Kashmir-related CBMs were presented by Mr Riaz Khokhar, who led the Pakistani side at the second round of Indo-Pakistan foreign secretary-level talks on peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir that began here at the Foreign Ministry.
A significant CBM, it is learnt, is the prior notification of military exercises and not to conduct joint exercises with any third country in disputed areas. Other proposals included no permanent relocation of strike formations towards Pakistan-India border and non-induction or deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems (ABMS), sources said.
The Kashmir-related CBMs included substantive reduction of forces in occupied Kashmir and no additional deployment of regular forces there. While almost half a dozen proposals are new, others are a reincarnation of some of the proposals discussed by the two sides in the past.
Pakistan also proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR), containing its desired trio of conflict resolution, nuclear and missile restraint and conventional balance. Islamabad pushed for the SRR soon after the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan.
Initially, India engaged Pakistan on the SRR but later took the pretext of wider Indian defensive posture. There was no immediate response to the proposals from the Indian side which told the Pakistani delegation that it would study them. It was also indicated that proposals made by both sides could subsequently be turned into mutually-acceptable CBMs, the sources said.
The Indian side, led by Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, also made a few new proposals and reiterated some previous ones, including establishing of new institutional linkages between armed forces of the two countries. The Indian delegation also provided details of technical data on the proposed hotlines between foreign secretaries and DGMOs, the sources told Dawn.
It is learnt that while the emphasis of the Indian side was on increasing people-to-people contact, the Pakistani delegation stressed progress on disputed areas and underlined the need to discuss difficulties head-on.
The Indian secretary assured the Pakistani side that their objective was not to put Jammu and Kashmir on a back burner. "We also want to move on CBMs and composite dialogue in tandem," the sources quoted him as telling the Pakistani side. They said the Indian secretary maintained that confidence-building was not a distraction from the issue of Jammu and Kashmir or an attempt to marginalize it.
The sources said Mr Saran told his Pakistani counterpart that people-to-people contacts were integral to this process (to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir issue) and said that Kashmir was a complex issue that could not be resolved despite passage of 57 years.
It is believed that both sides are trying hard to narrow down differences on the proposed agreement on pre-notification of missile tests. There are strong indications from both the Indian and Pakistani quarters that an agreement on pre-notification of ballistic missile tests may be formalized at the end of the talks.
The sources said Additional Foreign Secretary (UN) Tariq Osman Hyder, who led the Pakistani side at the nuclear and conventional CBM talks earlier this month worked on the draft agreement with Indian Joint secretary Arun Singh on the sidelines of the foreign secretaries meeting on Monday.
It is also learnt that till late Monday Pakistani and Indian diplomats were working to arrive at a mutually-agreeable joint statement that would be issued at the conclusion of the foreign secretaries talks on Tuesday. The Indian side also raised the issue of prisoners on both sides and emphasized the need that they be given early consular access.
The three new CBMs proposed by the Indian side were: admission of Pakistani students to Indian educational institutions and facilitating their visas, providing free treatment to Pakistani children and increasing the number of pilgrims and visits to shrines on both sides.
The Indian side also unilaterally announced issuing visas to Pakistani children up to 12 years and senior citizens above the age of 65 at the Wagah border. The Indian delegation also advocated early release of hundreds of prisoners on both sides, called for strengthening shipping links for cargo and underlined the need to continue ceasefire along the Line of Control.
SARAN-KASURI MEETING: Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran called on Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri in the afternoon after the talks were wrapped up for the day. Mr Saran briefed the foreign minister about the progress made at the talks. He reiterated commitment of the Indian government to make progress in the composite dialogue aimed at addressing all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.
"Mr Kasuri while reiterating Pakistan's position for result-oriented dialogue and progress in tandem on CBMs and Kashmir issue said it was very essential to associate Kashmiris in the dialogue process so that a solution is found to the Kashmir problem which is acceptable to Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir," said a foreign ministry statement.
During the 40-minute meeting, they also exchanged views on issues, including the Baglihar dam, promotion of economic ties, facilitation of visas and progress in the commencement of Srinagar-Muzzafarabad bus service, the statement said.
PAKISTANI PROPOSALS: The following were the 20 proposals made by Pakistan at the secretary-level talks on Monday:
(1) Elements of a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR):
* Conflict resolution through a sustained, result-oriented dialogue.
* Measures for nuclear restraint and conventional balance, to be discussed at the political and experts level.
* Objective of minimum credible deterrence.
* Maintenance of nuclear weapons on low-alert status.
* No operational deployment of nuclear capable ballistic or any other type of missiles / delivery systems.
* No acquisition or deployment of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems.
* Avoidance of a nuclear, missile, or conventional arms race.
* Continuation of the national nuclear test moratoriums of both sides, as reaffirmed in the Joint Statement of 20th June 2004.
* Examination of the elements of this Strategic Restraint Regime proposal, and their potential elaboration in the form of implementable measures, in the meetings of the foreign secretaries and in subsequent expert-level talks.
(2) Progress on substantive issues, Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and Baglihar dam.
(3) India's conventional armed forces, armaments / military strength, arms acquisition, and doctrines, whose objective is to give an aggressive and coercive capability, should be realigned and reduced to make them defence oriented and to remove the asymmetry, large disparity and imbalance that already exists between the conventional armed forces of India and Pakistan.
(4) Review of existing CBMs and other measures, periodically.
(5) Measures for the prevention of violations of airspace and territorial waters.
(6) Revival of pre-Shimla ground border rules.
(7) Prior notification of military exercises/manoeuvres and no joint military exercises with any foreign/third country in disputed areas.
(8) Enhancing the efficacy and upgrading the existing communication links between Director-General Military Operations.
(9) Non-acquisition or deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems.
(10) Linkage between nuclear and conventional CBMs.
(11) Clarification of security threat perception, which would reduce pretexts for unnecessary and destabilizing arms build up.
(12) No permanent relocation of strike formations towards the Pakistan-India border.
CBMS RELATED TO LOC:-
(13) No new development of posts and defence works along LoC.
(14) Article 2 given at Annex D of Agreement between Pakistan and India concerning air space violation (April 1991) should be implemented in letter and spirit.
(15) Cease fire currently enforced be respected. Complete ban on use of weapons above 60mm calibre be imposed.
(16) Allowing effective monitoring by UNMOGIP on both sides of LoC.
(17) Substantive reduction of regular forces in held Kashmir.
(18) No additional induction of regular forces in held Kashmir.
(19) Monthly flag meetings at Olding, Chakothi, Sadabad and Sialkot sectors between local commanders.
(20) A comprehensive framework for the speedy return of inadvertent line crossers.