While infiltration persists and terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan remains intact, India can't afford to move any guns away from the LoC. Aided in no small measure by Indian army's counter-infiltration deployment at the LoC, 2011 was the most peaceful year in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 22 years. India can't take a chance to let the state regress into violence and conflict again.
Some analysts have portrayed India's rejection of Pakistan's proposal as Delhi's reluctance to even take baby-steps towards trusting Pakistan. They are wrong. If Pakistan is serious about building trust and confidence, then it should move by first dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan.
By not banning the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan continues to violate the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 of December 2008. Islamabad could begin by at least bringing Hafiz Sayeed and other perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes to book. Let us not forget that the last time India blindly trusted Pakistan with Atal Behari Vajpayee's Lahore Bus Yatra in 1999, it resulted in Kargil.
Most of us remember the stellar role played by the heavy artillery guns in defeating the nefarious Pakistani designs in Kargil in 1999. These guns have been positioned in an inhospitable terrain at great human and material costs. If withdrawn, they can't be redeployed at a short notice. Considering Pakistan's unstable political and internal security situation, coupled with its abysmal relations with the United States, India can scarcely rule out any mischief by Pakistan army in the foreseeable future.
Pakistan also knows that India is unlikely to accept the proposal to withdraw guns from the LoC. A 'Red Herring' suggestion, it is meant to allow Pakistani generals and diplomats to indulge in some grandstanding. India has done the right thing by rejecting Pakistan's proposal. It must guard against this proposal gaining any further credence by highlighting the issue that prevents India from moving forward -- the issue of Pakistan-based jehadi terror.
Most of the civilised world today considers Pakistan to be an outlaw among nations. Let us then remember the warning contained in another NRA bumper sticker: "If guns are outlawed, then only the outlaws will have guns".
Sushant K Singh is Fellow for National Security at the Takshashila Institution and editor of Pragati-The Indian National Interest Review.