Pakistan Proposes Demilitarization of Kashmir Border

Posted December 27th, 2011 at 5:20 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani and Indian officials are considering a proposal to demilitarize the border of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, as the two countries hold a second day of weapons talks in Islamabad Tuesday.

During the first day of talks, Pakistan proposed that both sides remove all heavy weaponry at least 30 kilometers from the Line of Control, the de facto border that divides the Pakistan and India-controlled regions of Kashmir.

There was no immediate word on an Indian response to the proposal.

The talks are part of a peace process that India recently resumed following the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which India blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists.

Though cross-border attacks in Kashmir have decreased in recent years following a cease-fire agreement signed in 2003, both sides regularly blame each other for fatal firing incidents across the de facto border.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Since 1989, various Muslim separatist groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over the Himalayan region since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. Thousands of people have been killed in the insurgency.

Observers say no major breakthroughs on the Kashmir issue are expected during this week's talks. Tuesday's discussions are expected to focus on the rival nations' respective nuclear weapons arsenals.