Britain denies LoC monitoring 'plan'
4 August 2003
LONDON: The British Foreign Office has denied that there is any European plan for an international 'helicopter force' to monitor the Line of Control as a way of checking cross-border infiltration into Kashmir. A spokesman told The Hindu that Britain was 'not aware' of any such plan being 'actively considered in European capitals' as claimed by a London-based Indian news agency. The agency had reported that the NATO countries were 'seriously' considering deploying an international air-borne force to monitor the LoC. It quoted a Pakistani newspaper, The News , as saying that the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was 'behind' the plan and that this had been conveyed to New Delhi and Islamabad. The Foreign Office reacted sharply with sources dismissing it as 'nonsense'. Indian diplomats were equally surprised, and said they had no idea how the story originated. The spokesman said that 'some form of monitoring' along the LoC could be a way of verifying that infiltration by terrorists had stopped but it was for the parties themselves to agree to this and at the moment, there was no agreement.