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Press Release on Pakistan's claim of withdrawal of troops from India-Pak border

December 16, 1999

In response to a question, the Official Spokesman said that we had seen media reports indicating that Pakistan had completed the withdrawal of additional troops from the Line of Control, including the Kargil sector.  The Spokesman recalled that General Pervez Musharraf had, on 17 October 1999, announced a withdrawal of troops only from the International Border between India and Pakistan and Pakistani officials had thereafter clarified that there was to be no withdrawal of troops from the LOC.  The present remarks of the spokesman of the Pakistan Army are only an exercise in obfuscation.  In actual fact, we have not observed any withdrawal of any Pakistani troops deployed at the Line of Control.

  In response to another question, the Official Spokesman said that we had seen reports of a proposed reduction in Pakistan's defence expenditure as part of an economic reforms package.  In this context, the Spokesman emphasized that India had always desired economic stability and prosperity of our region as a whole. With regard to Pakistan's defence expenditure, the Spokesman noted that, as a proportion of its GDP, Pakistan's defence spending was amongst the highest in the world. Also, international financial institutions have, over a period of time, made insistent demands for the reduction of Pakistan's defence expenditure and have sought greater transparency in Pakistan's budget making exercise regarding defence expenditure.