Pakistan asks India to de-active air bases, re-locate ground forces


Islamabad : Pakistani foreign minister Tuesday asked India to de-active its forward air bases and re-locate its ground forces to peace time location to create a conducive atmosphere.

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Last month’s attacks in Mumbai had heightened tension between nuclear armed Pakistan and India. India says the attackers were Pakistanis and attacks were planned in Pakistani by militant groups.

Both countries had put forces on high alert and Pakistani has also pulled out troops from the insurgency-hit areas to deploy them along borders with India.

“I am floating two proposals to India to make the environment cordial and to defuse tension. I propose to India to de-activate air bases. It would be a positive step. I also propose to India to re-locate its ground forces to peace time positions,” Shah Mahmoud Qureshi said in a televised speech on Pakistan Television.

“These measures will reduce tension and we will move forward in positive,” the Pakistani foreign minister said.

“Geography has made us neighbors and we can live as good neighbors. Peace process is in favor of both of us,” Qureshi said.

He welcomed the statement from Indian Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee that New Deli has not given any deadline to Islamabad.

Qureshi also described as positive step direct contact between the Director General Military Operations of both countries to reduce tension.

He said that war will not benefit the two countries but will make strong those forces who have created tension between Pakistan and India and put regional peace at risk.

The foreign minister said there had been positive developments over the past 48 hours including the telephonic contact of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with President Asif Zardari and the Indian foreign minister to appeal both countries to reduce tension.

Qureshi said that India has not yet shared evidences of Mumbai attacks with Pakistan, adding that New Delhi insists that
investigations are still continuing and will be shared after the process is completed.

“I assure India that after sharing evidences, we will try our best to reach at the bottom of the matter and to bring the accused to justice,” the Pakistani FM said.

He thanked China for sending special envoy to Pakistan in a move to reduce tension in the region. He said China has praised Pakistan’s role in defusing tension.