Indo-Pak DGMOs talk on hotline

Islamabad, December 29:

Senior Pakistani and Indian military officers spoke over the weekend in an apparent bid to ease tensions that have mounted following last month’s attacks in Mumbai. The unscheduled conversation over the hotline between the neighbours came after Pakistani officials said they had moved troops to the eastern border with India and cancelled leave for soldiers on active duty.

“The DGMOs talked to each other on the hotline,” a Pakistani military official told AFP, referring to the directors general of military operations (DGMOs) from both sides. He declined to reveal details of the discussion.

Relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, which New Delhi has blamed on Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Pakistani officials said last week that the military had redeployed a “limited” number of troops from tribal areas near Afghanistan, where they are fighting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, to the eastern border with India. The move prompted Indian PM Dr Manmohan Singh to summon his military chiefs for a strategy session, and New Delhi advised its nationals not to travel to Pakistan. An Indian army spokesman told AFP that New Delhi had not shifted any troops on its side of the already heavily militarised common border. The US and Russia have led international calls for calm in both Islamabad and New Delhi. Leaders in both capitals have repeatedly said they do not want war but would act if provoked. China has also been involved in efforts to defuse tensions.

Beijing dispatched Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei to Islamabad for talks today with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.