No wall but project to widen roads, India counters Pak charge

No wall but project to widen roads, India counters Pak charge

Pakistan has lodged a complaint with the United Nations Security Council, accusing India of building a “10-metre-high and 135-feet-wide embankment (wall)” along the border in Jammu and Kashmir.

But the project India has been working on and Pakistan has apparently taken note of is not at all aimed at building such a colossal mortar-and-brick wall but only intended to widen roads along the existing barbed wire fence on the border.

“There is no plan to build any embankment or wall along the India-Pakistan border. The project we are working on is only intended to widen roads and building a few link roads along the already existing fence,” Pawan Kotwal, Commissioner of Jammu Division, told Deccan Herald.

The project, which is being funded by the Centre, was conceived, primarily for the benefit of the people living in villages near the border, officials said in New Delhi.

It would, however, also help the Army and Border Security Force to mobilise troops to respond to any flashpoint and to foil attempts by militants to sneak into India from Pakistan.

It is aimed at building roads and link roads only along the undisputed stretch of the border, which is referred to as “International Border” by India and “Working Boundary” by Pakistan. 

The barbed-wire fence was erected in India’s territory and 150 yards from the “Zero Line” marking the border with Pakistan.

Noting that the roads along the fence would also be constructed further inside the Indian territory, officials said the project to improve infrastructure in the border region would neither violate any bilateral understanding with Pakistan nor would go against any international obligation of New Delhi.

“The construction of roads will start after we will complete the process for acquisition of land,” Kotwal said from Jammu on Saturday.

Syed Salahuddin, who heads the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, issued a press-statement on September 4 accusing New Delhi of building a “great wall” on the Line of Control (LoC).
He appealed to “civil and military leadership of Pakistan” to frustrate India’s “evil design to turn Kashmir into a prison” with the wall on the LoC.

Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, wrote to Security Council President Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, on September 9 last, expressing Islamabad’s “deep concern” over New Delhi’s plan to construct a “10-metre-high and 135-feet-wide embankment (wall) along the 197-km-long Working Boundary”.

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