|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
May 27, 1999
Tensions likely to subside, says defence ministry
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Defence ministry officials said the tension between India and Pakistan on the issue of infiltration is likely to subside soon despite the shooting down today of Indian MiG aircraft by Pakistan.
These officials said with both New Delhi and Islamabad stating that their army personnel would not cross the LoC, both sides had decided that the best course under the circumstances would be to confine their activities to their own territories.
The officials said they expected the tension to reduce once Indian ground troops move into the sector early Saturday. It is understood that a total of 50,000 Indian troops would soon surround the Pakistani infiltrators, estimated to number over 600, they said.
According to these officials, Pakistan has been under international pressure, especially from the United States and China, not to take on India, which, they are understood to have emphasised, was three times as powerful as Pakistan. They said the US embassy in Islamabad had warned the Nawaz Sharief administration that it would be imprudent to engage New Delhi on the issue of the infiltration.
It is learnt that Pakistan chief of army staff General Parvez Musharraf, who has just returned from Beijing, has been told by the Chinese leadership to reduce tension on the infiltration issue because China, like the US, is currently preoccupied with the Kosovo issue.
Significantly, General Musharraf's Beijing visit is being keenly monitored in South Block. Pakistan Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad had rushed to Beijing and met Chinese leaders soon after India's Pokhran tests last year. Thereafter, a joint statement by China and Pakistan had expressed complete unanimity of views on the security issue in the region. Soon, Pakistan conducted its Chagai nuclear tests with what is believed to be Chinese help.
Defence ministry officials said Indian troops were close to "neutralising " the militants' advantage on the high Kaksar heights with help from the air force. Kaksar is between Kargil and Drass, which the infiltrators had occupied recently. This strategic location allows Pakistani infiltrators and regular army personnel an uninterrupted view of Indian troop movements.
Meanwhile, external affair ministry officials feel Islamabad's hasty actions in Kargil could give India the opportunity to raise questions about Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief's commitment to the Kashmir cause.
These officials from the MEA's Pakistan desk said the developments in Kashmir augured some changes in the Pakistan polity. But it was not clear if Sharief would try to rein in Pakistan's armed forces because fundamentalist organisations like the Jamait-e-Islami had been criticising his government's more pacific measures.
INFOTECH | TRAVEL |
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK