Indian military setting up camps for quake victims

Indian troops have set up a relief camp for Pakistani quake victims along the two countries' disputed border in Kashmir, although the camp remains empty as they try to broker a deal that would allow people to cross the militarized frontier.

A visit to the camp in Gulpur on Tuesday revealed two medical tents equipped to carry out minor surgery and shelters for about 100 people along with bathrooms.

The camp is part of a plan India announced on Saturday to set up three relief centers along the so-called Line of Control, said an Indian army spokesman in Kashmir, Lt. Col. V.K. Batra.

It was not clear if other camps had also been set up, although on Saturday India said there would be camps in the districts of Teethwal, Kaman and Chakan-da-Bagh, the area where Gulpur, the site of the camp seen by a reporter for The Associated Press, is located.

The opening of the camps has been delayed because India and Pakistan, which following India's announcement proposed that five camps be opened, are still trying to reconcile their dueling proposals. In the meantime, Batra said the Indian military was making preparations.

"The clear instructions regarding the opening are still awaited but we have kept readiness so that no time is wasted" once the announcement is made, he said.

If India and Pakistan reach an agreement on the camps, it would be the first time in nearly six decades that Kashmiris would be allowed to walk across the frontier of the region, divided in 1948.

"The areas are remote and lot of preparatory work is needed," Batra said. "Roads and mule-tracks have to be cleared, tents have to be pitched and relief materials and medicines have to be stocked," reports the AP. I.L.

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