50,000 More Troops to Pull Out of India-Pakistan Border Areas
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ India and Pakistan agreed Monday to pull 50,000 more of their troops back from border areas, Foreign Secretary Abdul Sattar said.
The troop withdrawal from border areas will be complete by March 17, Sattar told a news conference.
Sattar led the Pakistani side in negotiations on de-escalation of border tensions and on troop withdrawals. A.S. Gonsalves, the Indian external affairs secretary, led his country’s team.
Tensions rose when both countries, which have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947, began massing troops near their borders. Each side accused the other of provocations, and built up its border troops strength.
Sattar said the troop withdrawals will be from an area northward 300 miles starting from Chhor, near the Khokhropar area of Pakistan, and Barmer, in the Rajisthan area of India.
The foreign secretaries also agreed that a troop withdrawal will begin March 16 from border areas north of Pakistan’s Mandi Sadiqganj and India’s Hindumalkot. No date has yet been set for completion of this withdrawal.
The first round of foreign secretaries’ talks concluded in New Delhi on Feb. 4, when the two sides agreed to pull out a total of 150,000 troops from the Ravi-Chenab border sector. The withdrawal was completed by Feb. 19 as agreed.
As a result of the two rounds of talks in New Delhi and Islamabad, Sattar said, more than 70 percent of the troops from the two sides would have been pulled back. Negotiations for further troop withdrawals are planned in the next few days in New Delhi, but no date has been set for those talks, he added.