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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 17:03 GMT
Kashmir response dismays Pakistan
Indian soldier, Dal Lake, Kashmir
Indian has pulled back some of its troops from Kashmir
Pakistan says it is disappointed with India's response to its proposals to solve the dispute over Kashmir.

President Pervez Musharraf told the AFP news agency the signals coming out from India were not encouraging.

But later on Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said he would press on with peace talks with India to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Mr Aziz was making an address to the nation, his first since become prime minister in April.

"Pakistan will carry forward the current process of composite dialogue with India to find a lasting and just solution of the Kashmir dispute," he said.

Mr Aziz is due to travel to India next week where he will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Indian premier said Delhi would not accept any redrawing of borders in the disputed region.

That was one of several radical proposals outlined by Gen Musharraf during a speech last month.

He listed several options for a settlement:

  • The whole area could be demilitarised and made autonomous

  • It could be put under the joint control of the two countries

  • Some parts could be divided between the two countries and the Kashmir Valley would either become autonomous or be put under UN supervision.

But during a visit to Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, Mr Singh said: "I have made it clear to President Musharraf that any redrawing of the international border is not acceptable to us."

President Musharraf
There ought to be a desire to move forwards towards peace
Gen Musharraf

Responding to the Indian premier's statement, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri asked Delhi to avoid making "controversial statements".

"The fact is that Jammu and Kashmir is a dispute which Pakistan and India have to resolve through dialogue and negotiations," he told Pakistan's state-run APP news agency.

Speaking to AFP, Gen Musharraf said the signals coming out of Delhi were not encouraging.

"Certainly the vibes should be much better than this... there ought to be a desire to move forwards towards peace," he said.

He also played down India's decision to pull out some of its troops based in Indian-administered Kashmir.

"If out of 600,000 or 700,000 troops, 40,000 troops are removed, well we welcome it, it's a step forward, but however it's a tactical step forward," he said.

India is estimated to have between 180,000 and 350,000 troops in the part of Kashmir under its control.

It is not clear how many of these are being withdrawn - witnesses say a unit of 1,000 soldiers pulled out on Wednesday.

Peace talks

The BBC's Paul Anderson in Islamabad says no one is expecting any major breakthrough during Shaukat Aziz's visit to India but Pakistanis will be hoping for more positive signals from Delhi.

Mr Aziz's visit is part of a tour of South Asian capitals, where he will issue invitations for a regional summit in Pakistan.

He is expected to hold talks on a range of issues with Mr Singh, including Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have been observing a ceasefire in the disputed state for nearly a year and have embarked on a peace process since January.

More than 40,000 people have died in Kashmir since an insurgency broke out in 1989.


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Why the proposals have been criticised



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