Pakistan has moved troops from Indian border: Zardari

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Pakistan has moved an unspecified number of troops from its border with India to fight the Taliban, President Asif Ali Zardari has said, renewing his pledge to work for better ties with India.

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He said if need be more troops would be moved out but pointed out that Pakistan’s command posts and cantonments were all on the “southern border” with India.

“I’ve always considered India a neighbour which we want to improve our relationship with,” Zardari told PBS public television Friday. “We’ve had some cold times and we’ve had some hot times with them, but democracies are always trying to improve relationships.”

Asked why Pakistan would not move troops from the Indian border to its porous western border region with Afghanistan where the Taliban have found safe havens, he said: “We have already done so.”

Later appearing on “Charlie Rose” show on PBS with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Zardari responded to the question a bit differently.

“It’s a complex answer to that. In the simple term, let me tell you that we have moved some more (troops) recently because the action asked for it. And if need be, we will move more.”

Asked if the Americans had convinced him about it, Zardari said: “No. It was the demand based proposition, when the demand goes up, we shift – all our southern border is where all of the command posts are.”

“That’s where all the cantonments are, because that’s the perceived threat. So whenever we have to move, we will have to move from that border towards this. So even if they’re at rest position, they’re in the cantonments, and the cantonments happen to be on that front.”

“The Indian border is sometimes hot and sometimes cold. That’s another story,” he said when asked if the Taliban and terrorist activities posed a larger threat to Pakistan today than whatever might be happening on the Indian border.”

“But democracies are always trying to get friendly to each other, especially we bring in the extent of trying to improve our relations with India,” Zardari said.

“So we never talk war. Pakistan under a democratic system has never gone to war with India. So that is one position.”

“But at the same time, there is an active threat on the Afghan border from our side, from their side, from within the mountains, and that’s where we’re engaged today,” Zardari said “Today’s war for the perceivable future for the world and for us is that area.”