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Pakistan asks India to de-activate air bases, relocate ground forces
30/12/2008 17:48

Pakistan today recommended India to de-activate its forward air bases and put ground forces to peace time locations, to resume friendly atmosphere between the two neighboring countries.

The official Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying that if India considered these suggestions, it would prove helpful in diffusing the ongoing tense situation between the two countries.

Pakistan considered the development in last 48 hours as "positive", Qureshi said, adding the statement of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee regarding joint investigation into Mumbai incident supported Pakistan's stance.

Mukherjee categorically stated that India did not give ultimatum to Pakistan, Qureshi said. Pakistan believes that ultimatums do not help to improve relations between the countries, he said.

He said Pakistan's approach was positive from the day one and it stood by its commitment to cooperate into the investigation whenever evidence provided.

He said Pakistan was also thankful to China for its efforts to deescalate tension between Pakistan and India.

Qureshi also mentioned other recent positive developments including the direct contact between the director generals of military operations of Pakistan and India, and the telephonic conversation between President Asif Ali Zardari and United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and termed them helpful in diffusing the tense situation.

Qureshi stressed the need for using direct contacts and diplomatic channels for improving the ties and said the importance of dialogue should not be overruled.

He said coercions and conflicts would only benefit the elements who tried to dismantle peace between the two countries. He said geography had made Pakistan and India neighbors, and it was the duty of the two states to maintain a friendly atmosphere for the benefit of their peoples.