India-UK military exercise in disputed Kashmir criticised
ISLAMABAD : Pakistan on Monday censured the holding of joint
India-UK military exercises in the disputed territory of Jammu and
Kashmir and also termed the Indian-sponsored trekking expedition in the
conflict zone of Siachen an "illegal" step.
Responding to a question about the joint India-UK military exercises
in Ladakh and Indian plan to conduct similar exercises with the UK in
the Siachen area, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told a weekly
news briefing: "Yes, we are aware of it and we feel that this is not a
legitimate activity because Ladakh is part of Jammu and Kashmir which is
an internationally recognised disputed territory. Britain, more than
anyone else, should be aware of it."
The spokesperson disclosed that last week Pakistan had made demarches
to both the British and the Indian governments.
Referring to the text of the two demarches she added: "This was done
last week here in Islamabad with the British High Commission and also in
London. We made a demarche to the Indian High Commission and also
conveyed our demarche to the Indian Government in Delhi."
Challenging the Indian contention about opening of Siachen for
tourists' trekking Ms Aslam argued: "Firstly, if India has sent any
trekking teams to Siachen in the past or if India is insistent on doing
so now, this does not make it a legitimate step."
She asserted: "Indian military ingression into Siachen, Indian
military presence there and any activity that it sponsors in this area
is illegal because Indian presence in Siachen is in clear violation of
the Simla Agreement, it is illegal and it is unacceptable."
When asked what options Pakistan had to address this issue after
India's clear refusal to heed Islamabad's protest over it and whether
the government planned to raise the matter with the international
community, she said: "We have a composite dialogue process and Siachen
is one of the issues being discussed there. We will certainly raise it
in the composite dialogue."
The spokesperson ruled out the possibility of Pakistan taking
military action against the Indian move in Siachen when asked about it.
"No, we are not considering any military action. We have already said
we have made a demarche and we intend to raise it in the composite
ARRESTS IN US: Asked, if the government was in touch with the US
authorities regarding the arrest of many Pakistanis in Maryland in a
sting operation against money laundering, spokesperson Tasnim Aslam
said: "Our embassy is also looking into it and the ministry has
instructed the mission to seek consular access if these are Pakistani
nationals and also find other details."She said they might not be
Pakistani nationals as the term used was Pakistani origin.
Referring to the reports in a US newspaper about claims by
unidentified intelligence officials, a question was asked as to what had
prompted the US to express reservations about the situation in the
tribal areas given that the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte
during his recent visit here had supported Pakistan's three-pronged
strategy, the spokesperson said: "There is no official statement. What
the LA Times and maybe also the Washington Times have reported is a
statement by some anonymous intelligence official. We do not attach much
importance to such statements."
She told the questioner: "We look at what the US administration is
saying and you have yourself referred to Mr Negroponte's statement last
Asked, if there was any truth to the reports that there may be some
troop withdrawal in the tribal areas, the spokesperson said: "No, I have
no such information."