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No question of demilitarisation unless terrorism ends: Manmohan

Amit Baruah

DHAKA: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told his Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz that there could be no demilitarisation or redeployment of forces unless there was an end to cross-border terrorism and infiltration.

In a meeting on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, Dr. Singh informed Mr. Aziz that India and Pakistan should not be deflected from taking the peace process forward by the terrorist attacks that continue to take place.

Briefing presspersons on the discussions, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said on Saturday that incidents like the terrorist attacks in New Delhi impacted on both public opinion in India and the Government.

"There have been ideas - can we take this peace process forward by demilitarisation? There is no question of demilitarisation or any kind of redeployment unless there is a stop to cross-border terrorism," he stated.

Mr. Saran also stated that eventual redeployment of forces should not be restricted to the Line of Control (LoC).

The idea should be to take away forces all along the International Border in the search for a broader peace.

Asked what was the response to the points made by Dr. Singh, Mr. Saran quoted the Pakistan Prime Minister as saying that Islamabad was opposed to any kind of terrorism and would not permit acts of terrorism to take place.

Also at the first leadership-level meeting since the October 8 earthquake, the two Prime Ministers agreed to cut down the time taken to process applications for people to cross the LoC at designated points to 10 days.

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