India Rejects Demilitarisation Proposal
4 December 2005
Islamabad: India has partially rejected Pakistan's proposal on Kashmir's demilitarisation and self-governance by refusing to withdraw troops from held valley, thus frustrating Islamabad's hopes for conclusive talks on the vital plan. 'Talks between the South Asian nuclear nations are underway through back channel diplomacy on proposed self- governance for Kashmiris, but India has conveyed its opposition to demilitarisation of held valley, saying it must be dropped from the plan,' said an official here requesting anonymity. 'India is not averse to talk on Kashmiris' self-governance through secret diplomacy but it is not willing to withdraw troops from the disputed Himalayan region,' he added. He said India wanted complete cessation to what it said terrorist acts by Kashmiri militants in held Kashmir and permanent end to the so-called 'cross-LoC infiltration'. This decision by New Delhi has disappointed Pakistan, as it believed demilitarisation of Kashmir was the prerequisite to the implementation of self-governance plan, the official said. In their 'informal talks', the two sides have also talked on the idea floated by Kashmiri leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq about NATO's role in final settlement of the longstanding Kashmir dispute but both the sides were not receptive to this proposal, he said. Another official here when contacted and asked about the new Kashmir plan by Islamabad, said it was an effort to find durable solution to the Kashmir issue, adding that self-governance and demilitarisation were not something contradictory to the UN resolutions on the core dispute. When asked whether India would finally accept the self-governance plan, he said New Delhi has so far repeated its old position that Kashmiris enjoyed autonomy and democratic rights within its constitution, but interestingly it had not come up with an instant opposition to the very idea.