NEW DELHI, Jan. 31, Reuter: Indian and Pakistan officials held talks today in a frank, businesslike and cordial atmosphere to reduce tension on their border, an Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman said.
The spokesman told Reuters the talks, called after the two sides had massed troops on the border for military exercises, lasted four and half hours and would continue tomorrow.
“They discussed measures to prevent further escalation of tensions along the border and also to deescalate the situation”, the spokesman said.
“The talks were held in a frank, businesslike and cordial atmosphere and promoted a better mutual understanding,” he said.
The Pakistani team of 10 was led by their top diplomat, Foreign Secretary Abdul Sattar, and in clouded senior military officials.
The temporary head of the Indian diplomatic service, Alfred Gonsalves, also had senior defense officials in his team.
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said in Luck now today that India wanted peace but would not compromise on defending the country. He declined to comment on the border situation because of the current talks.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Abdus Sattar, the Foreign Ministry’s senior permanent official, and
his Indian counterpart Alfred Gonsalves, held discussions aimed at reducing troop deployments:
In recent weeks, both sides have massed troops at the border and conducted military exercises. The extensive deployments set off a crisis with both sides trading charges of border provocations and denying any offensive intention.
The two neighbors, deeply suspicious of each other, have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.
There mere fact that Mr. Sattar and his aides flew to New Delhi on an Indian airline made news in Indian newspapers.
Pakistan held its annual winter exercise and informed India about it. Then India began to mass troops at the border and put its armed forces on alert, saying Pakistan had not withdrawn its troops after the maneuvers.
Pakistan’s acting Foreign Minister Zain Noorani said two days ago that India was continuing to move troops to the border in the violence torn Punjab area.
He warned that his country would retaliate unless they were withdrawn.
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Article extracted from this publication >> February 6, 1987