9th Indo-Pak Chaophraya Dialogue in Colombo
Galadari Hotel, Colombo
9th Indo-Pak Dialogue (Chaophraya Dialogue) was held in Colombo
Senior retired officers of the armed forces of India and Pakistan met at Colombo, Feb 28-29, 2012, for the 9th round of the Chaophraya Dialogue, organized by the Jinnah Institute (JI) and the Australia India Institute (AII). At the end of two days of comprehensive discussion on Indo-Pak bilateral relations, including the nuclear dimension, Afghanistan, and possibilities of military-to-military cooperation, they agreed on the following:
Bilateral Relations: Overall Assessment from the Militaries’ Perspective
- The militaries’ perceive that a state of normalization between India and Pakistan entails the absence of war, and of no escalatory action being undertaken by either side, to ensure that the civilian governments may continue political, economic and social interaction, leading to durable peace in the region;
- The parameters of the resolution of Siachen and Sir Creek are known and it is up to the political leadership of both countries to go beyond the technicalities and strive to resolve those issues;
- There should be complete non-interference in each other’s domestic conflicts.
Afghanistan Endgame and India-Pakistan Interests
- India and Pakistan can and should move forward together in Afghanistan;
- The future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans alone through an intra-Afghan dialogue across the ethnic divide which both India and Pakistan can facilitate;
- To be able to cooperate in Afghanistan, the mutual concerns of both India and Pakistan should be identified and addressed;
- While these suggestions are primarily for Track I to take cognizance of, Track II should continue to work in tandem to offer practical suggestions wherever necessary.
Nuclear Risk Reduction Risks
- There should be a sustained official dialogue on nuclear issues between India and Pakistan as visualised in clauses 1, 6 and 8 of the Lahore MoU of 1999;
- With the impending development of sea-borne nuclear deterrent, there is a requirement to “conclude an agreement on prevention of incidents at sea in order to ensure safety of navigation by naval vessels” as desired in clause 5 of the Lahore MoU;
- Reducing tensions requires that India and Pakistan conduct regular consultations on the various strategic underpinnings, technological developments such as BMD and de-alerting of nuclear weapons with regard to their nuclear postures;
- Nuclear Risk Reduction Centres may be set up in both the countries to function as a dedicated mechanism to communicate issues relating to nuclear safety and security of civilian and military resources as desired in clause 3 of the Lahore MoU;
- To adopt a common India-Pakistan nuclear lexicon to enhance mutual understanding of nuclear issues.
Military-to-Military Cooperation: Possibilities
- Military to Military contacts in Track II should be held in India and Pakistan rather than in third countries;
- Instituting NDU (Pakistan) and NDC (India) exchanges through annual group visits including seminars. A beginning can be made by inviting retired officers of respective forces as guest speakers;
- Improving trust by changing the orientation of force deployments from offensive to defensive with relocations where possible, and with adjusting the Force Mix;
- Reviewing CBMs; reinforcing those that need to be made more current with time; and implementing those in letter and spirit.
- Making more inclusive international forums like IOR-ARC/IONS dealing with military issues to enable participation by both India and Pakistan;
- Encouraging exchange of visits by respective service chiefs without an agenda.