India, Pak make little headway on Siachen

Both countries agree to meet again in Islamabad

“Both sides agreed to continue the discussions in a meaningful and result-oriented manner. They agreed to meet again at a mutually convenient date in Islamabad,” a statement issued at the end of the talks said.

In a one-page press release, India said: “Both sides welcomed the ongoing dialogue process. The discussions were held in a frank and cordial atmosphere, contributing to an enhanced understanding of each other’s position on Siachen.”

They also acknowledged that the ceasefire was holding since November 2003. Both sides presented their positions and suggestions towards the resolution the of Siachen issue. The Pakistan side presented a non-paper on Siachen.

The Indian team was led by Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar. The Pakistanis led by defence secretary Lt Gen (Retired) Syed Athar Ali, also called on Defence Minister A K Antony.

The Delhi meeting took place after a gap of three years as both sides presented their positions and suggestions to each other towards resolution of Siachen issue, the statement said.  Sources in the Defence Ministry said the mention of non-paper was made in the joint statement following Pakistan’s request.

Siachen, the world’s highest militarised zone, has been a long-pending issue over differences on the location of the 110-km long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) which passes through the Soltoro Ridge and Siachen glacier.

While India wants Pakistan to authenticate the AGPL both on the maps as well as on the ground, the latter insists on maintaining the pre—1972 troop position as agreed in the Shimla Agreement.

On its part, Pakistan has raised the issue of climate change there due to presence of troops from both sides and its effects on the environment. Retaliating to Pakistan army’s advances in the glacier in 1984, India launched ‘Operation Meghdoot’ and deployed its troops in the area.

The decision to resume the talks between the two countries was taken last year during a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Thimpu when they decided to take forward the dialogue process.

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