New Dehli: India and Pakistan Monday discussed demilitarization of Siachen, a mountainous region where borderline is not demarcated, in a “constructive framework”, picking up the threads of the issue after a gap of three years. The issue came up for discussion during the 12th round of two-day Defence Secretary level talks between the two sides while conclusive round of the talks would be held Tuesday.
“The talks were held in a constructive framework. Both sides appraised each other of their perception about the Siachen issue and also discussed the surrounding issues,” Defence Ministry officials said. India Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar led the Indian delegation at the talks with his Pakistani counterpart Lt General (Retd) Syed Ather Ali.
The decision to resume the talks between the two countries was taken last year during the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Thimpu when they decided to take forward the dialogue process.
While the Pakistani delegation has two civilian officials and four military officers, the Indian side includes Special Secretary R K Mathur, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt General A M Verma and Surveyor General S Subha Rao. The Pakistani Defence Secretary met Defence Minister A K Antony in the afternoon for over 20 minutes.
The two sides may come up with a joint statement tomorrow after the talks, the officials said. Pakistan has been asking for demilitarization of the Siachen glacier and raised the issue of climate change there due to presence of troops from both sides and its effects on the environment.
Siachen, with an area of over 2500 sq km, the world’s highest battlefield, has been a long pending issue between India and Pakistan over differences on the location of the 110-km long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) which passes through the Soltoro Ridge and Siachen Glacier.