J&K troops to be cut if peace reigns

New Delhi, September 5:

India will cut troop levels in Kashmir if separatist violence and militant infiltration from Pakistan stops, the prime minister’s office said today after a landmark meeting with moderate Kashmiri separatist leaders. “The prime minister said that if there is a cessation of violence and end to infiltration, conditions will be created for the reduction of armed forces (in Kashmir),” a statement from the prime minister’s office said. The statement came after PM Manmohan Singh held the first-ever official talks between an Indian leader and Kashmiri separatists since an anti-Indian rebellion erupted in 1989.

The three-hour meeting included formal talks and dinner. “He agreed to review all cases of those held in detention and ensure that violation of human dignity would not be tolerated and the government would take all necessary measures to safeguard against human rights violations,” the statement from the prime minister’s office said. The troops are the target of wide resentment among many Kashmiris. Analysts estimate about 400,000 Indian soldiers are posted in Kashmir.