Indian Defense Official Says Pakistan Border Wargames Not Threatening

October 24, 2000
TEHRAN Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes on Monday said there was no cause for alarm over reports of Pakistan moving troops closer to its borders with India.
"Pakistan has moved only one division (10,000 troops) of its army closer to its (Pakistan's) border to undertake a military exercise," AFP quoted Fernandes as telling reporters in Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital.
"Moreover," the deployment has taken place nearly 70 to 75 kilometers (43-46 miles) away from the Indian borders," the defense minister said.
Fernandes, who is in Srinagar on a two-day visit, was reacting to Pakistani media reports that Islamabad last week moved nine army divisions to the border without informing India.
"For such a minor exercise there is no need to give any prior information to each other as per the India-Pakistan border agreements," Fernandes said.
On Sunday, the Indian Army had dismissed as "exaggerated" reports that Islamabad had moved nine divisions for the maneuvers on the Rann of Kutch along the western Indian State of Gujarat.
The Rann of Kutch was the site of an intense tank battle in 1965 when India and Pakistan fought their second war.
Pakistan and India are locked in a bitter dispute along their border in the Himalayan State of Kashmir, which is divided between the two countries and claimed by both.