Pak seeks resolution of all issues with India

Pakistan on Monday called for the “amicable resolution” of all issues with India as their defence secretaries began talks to ease the military standoff on Siachen against the backdrop of calls to demilitarise the world’s highest battlefield.

During a meeting with an Indian delegation led by Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Pakistan Defence Minister Naveed Qamar said it was in the interest of both countries to “seek the amicable resolution of all the outstanding issues, including Siachen, as it would tremendously contribute towards the peace and prosperity of the South Asian region”. Qamar discussed matters of bilateral interest during the meeting with the Indian side, officials said without giving details.This was one of Qamar’s first meetings with a foreign delegation after he recently took over the portfolio as part of a minor reshuffle.

During preliminary discussions between the delegations led by Defence Secretary Sharma and his Pakistani counterpart Nargis Sethi, the two sides “explained their respective stances on the Siachen issue”, an official statement said without providing details.

The talks were held in “a very pleasant and cordial atmosphere,” the statement said.The two sides will hold further discussions today (Tuesday) and a joint statement will be issued at the concluding session.

The two-day talks on the Siachen issue, part of the resumed dialogue process between India and Pakistan, are being held at the Defence Ministry in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. 

The Indian delegation is led by Sharma while the Pakistani side is headed by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi, a close confidant of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.Ahead of the talks, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony cautioned against expecting any breakthrough at the meeting of the Defence Secretaries.

“Do not expect any dramatic announcement or decision on an issue which is very important for us, especially in the context of national security,” he told reporters in New Delhi last week.India has a “clear-cut position” on the Siachen issue which the Defence Secretary will explain to the Pakistani side during the talks, Antony said.

An unnamed Pakistani official told ‘The Express Tribune’ that Islamabad was awaiting New Delhi’s response to a “non-paper”, with a roadmap for resolving the Siachen issue.

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