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Dear Editor,


While talks between the participating officials of India and Pakistan aren't breaking any new ground, it is important to remember that insurgents backed by Pakistan have not given up their entenched positions; there are reports of helipads built by Pakistani insurgents in Indian territory.It's clear that Pakistan took the step of infiltrating the Line of Control after a great deal of preparation. It was a pre-planned operation. It's a repudiation of the letter and spirit of the Lahore Declaration of 1999 and a violation of the Simla Agreement of 1971. The Simla Agreement binds each side to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the other. The clauses repeatedly enjoin that neither side shall use the threat of force or force to affect the territorial integrity of the other. The agreement specifically deals with the Line of Control. It lays down that the Line of Control resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides. Furthermore, that "Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally". The Agreement goes a step ahead and specifies "Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this Line". And yet that is exactly what Pakistan has done: it has used force in an attempt to unilaterally alter the Line of Control. This having been done, it has been said that the Line of Control is vague. This is nothing but an ex post artifice to justify aggression. After the Agreement in Simla in 1972, the military authorities of the two sides went over the Line of Control - section by microscopic section. The salients, the locations, the coordinates were marked out on detailed maps. The exercise was done thoroughly: five months were expended on delineating the maps so that no ambiguity may remain. Not just that, at no time in the last 27 years has the Line of Control been called in question - not even once. It's heartening to note that President Clinton has urged Pakistan to respect the Line of Control that divides the two countries. On June 9, 1999 Bruce Riedel, President Clinton's senior advisor on South Asia firmly rejected the Pakistani contention that that the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir was not clear and asked the Pakistani-backed infiltrators to go back. He said: "We think the Line of Control has been demarcated over the years. It has been clear and those who infiltrated from the Pakistani side to the Indian must go back...." I request you to urge the U S Administration to put maximum pressure on Pakistan to withdraw behind its side of the Line of Control immediately and avoid any plans for future insurgency. This is necessary to stop the conflagration and continue the interrupted India-Pakistan post-Lahore Declaration phase on improving their bilateral relations over a wide spectrum. Sincerely Yours, Your Name Address Phone: