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Britain denies LoC monitoring `plan'

By Hasan Suroor

LONDON AUG. 4. 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.

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