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India


India, Pak ex-military Generals join hands for building peace

New Delhi, Nov 2 (UNI) In a rare initiative, military Generals from arch rival India and Pakistan have joined hands to create a common platform called 'India-Pakistan Soldiers Initiative for Peace' (IPSI) to build peace by removing 'trust deficit' between the two South Asian Nuclear neighbours.
In what could be seen as a track-two diplomacy, the IPSI launched its initiative by organising a brainstorming session here the past weekend, which attracted top civil military leaders, including outspoken Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer and former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor.
Incidentally , IPSI is constituted by Army Generals who, when in service, trained guns at each other, but are now fighting for peace.
The India Chapter of IPSI is headed by Mr Aiyer who is the chairperson, and includes Maj Gen (Retd) Tej K Kaul (Executive President) and Lt Gen (Retd) Moti Dhar (President).
Lt Gen (Retd) Humayun Bangash is the president of the Pakistan Chapter of IPSI while Lt Gen Saleem Hayder is the senior vice-president.
"IPSI is actively involved for promoting peace in both countries and strengthening people-to-people contact," a spokesperson for IPSI said.
While making a strong pitch for building peace between the two countries, who had fought four wars since gaining independence, the new peace campaigners expressed concern at the "trust deficit" between New Delhi and Islamabad and called for developing confidence in each other’s initiatives for building that trust.
Rajya Sabha member Mani Shankar Aiyer said there is a "huge constituency’’ for peace in both India and Pakistan which needed to be tapped and taken into confidence. This would greatly help in building up trust between the two countries, he said.
Former Army Chief Gen Kapoor, while decrying the "lack of trust" between the two countries, stressed the need for a "principle-based’" policy towards Pakistan rather than a "personality-based" approach.
Gen Kapoor, however, said that in Pakistan, it was the Army which drove their India policy.
"All countries have an Army. But in case of Pakistan it is the Army which has a country,’’ he quipped.
Mr Aiyer, while stressing the importance of dialogue between the two countries, said foreign policy should not be made "hostage" to terrorism.
He said borders between the two countries could not be changed and the Line of Control (LOC) should be made irrelevant by promoting dialogue and peace.
UNI MK SB 1039
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