ISLAMABAD - There is still no official word about the proposed meeting between Directors-General Military Operations (DGMOs) of Pakistan and India although the PM’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had indicated that the date and venue would be finalised by the top military officials during their weekly Tuesday contact over the hotline on November 19.

However, following the two military operations chiefs’ Tuesday phone conversation there has been complete silence from all quarters. When contacted by The Nation over the weekend, the Foreign Office and military spokespersons said they had no knowledge about it and each diverted the query to the other. The information minister also seems clueless on this.

There appears to be some disconnect between the Foreign Office and the military establishment on this key question. Apparently, even the Foreign Office has not been able to get any feedback from the military despite repeated attempts at various levels. It is still not clear whether the subject of DGMOs meeting was even raised by any side, and if date or venue were discussed during the Nov 19 phone contact between the military officials.

Given the clear direction in September from the top political leadership of Pakistan and India for a face-to-face meeting of DGMOs – as was reiterated by their top diplomats when they met in New Delhi earlier this month – the delay raises questions as to whether the political leadership and army are on the same page.

The events may also point to the armies on both sides asserting themselves and dragging their feet on this matter.

During the September 29 Nawaz Sharif-Manmohan Singh meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly it was agreed to take immediate steps to stabilise the volatile situation along the LoC and restore ceasefire. Hence it was decided in the meeting by the two prime ministers to task the DGMOs of both countries to discuss measures and ensure ceasefire on the de facto Kashmir border.

There is no clear word on this from the Indian side either, other than a lone news report in an Indian daily the other day quoting official sources as saying India is disappointed that Pakistan has still not given a date for the DGMOs meeting. Reportedly shortly after the New York Summit meeting Islamabad had approached New Delhi through diplomatic channel to indicate dates for a meeting between top military officials of the two countries to discuss measures to maintain ceasefire on the LoC. Essentially, the ball is in India’s court now as it is a formal response from New Delhi that is still awaited.

Amid this uncertainty and ambiguity about the DGMOs meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif again extended a hand of friendship to India on Saturday. Reiterating his keenness to normalise relations with India, he declared: “If India takes one step for good relations, Pakistan will take two.” He said firing across the LoC was not in favour of either country, an issue which along with the DGMOs meeting is likely to be discussed again when Indian High Commissioner TC Raghavan calls on the prime minister here this week.