Indian troops damaging Siachen's virgin snow, says Pak

Indian troops damaging Siachen's virgin snow, says Pak

Pakistan today asked India to withdraw its troops from Siachen, claiming their presence on the glacier was damaging the environment and polluting one of the country's main sources of water supplies.

Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, claimed Indian forces on Siachen posed a "serious threat" to Pakistan's environment.

Pakistan is facing a water shortage and Indian troops are damaging the "virgin snow" of Siachen‚ one of the largest sources of Pakistani water, he said. He further claimed that items of daily use disposed of by Indian soldiers were threatening the glacier's existence.
Describing the presence of Indian forces on the glacier as a "big issue", he urged India to resolve the Siachen issue "on priority basis by pulling out its troops".

Aziz said Pakistan and India are engaged to resolve outstanding water issues through multiple channels, including the composite dialogue and Indus Waters Commission. He said the implications of water scarcity are grave in view of climate change.

Indian and Pakistani troops have been locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on Siachen, the world's highest and coldest battlefield, since 1984.

The guns have been largely silent along the Actual Ground Position Line since the two sides put in place a ceasefire in 2003 but adverse weather conditions on the glacier have claimed more lives on both sides than actual hostilities.

India has insisted that the demilitarisation of Siachen must be preceded by recording the existing troop positions but this has been rejected by Pakistan.

According to environmentalists‚ glacial retreat in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges has accelerated in recent years because of human presence on glaciers.

Aziz stressed the need to make proper use of water in Pakistan‚ as well as its conservation and building of new reservoirs. He said parliament has formed a committee to discuss water-related issues and to make recommendations.

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