New Delhi: With India and Pakistan agreeing to continue their talks on the Siachen Glacier, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Friday said both countries needed more time to debate issues concerning the world’s highest battlefield. Antony told reporters here that the talks between the neighbors were “free and frank” and the atmosphere at the meeting was “cordial But they were not able to come to a conclusion or agreement. So ultimately, they decided they needed more time…both sides. So India and Pakistan will meet again at a mutually convenient time and the next round will be in Islamabad,” he said.
At a meeting May 30-31 between the defence secretaries of the two countries, it was decided that they would meet again for the 13th round of talks on Siachen Glacier at a mutually convenient date in Islamabad. At the 12th round of talks, the two sides reiterated their respective positions on the 70-km-long glacier dispute lingering over 27 years now since 1984.
Pakistan also gave a “non-paper” to India explaining their suggestions and proposals for the peaceful resolution of the conflict along the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) on the Saltoro Ridge.
“It is a very complicated issue. Both sides need more time to study this,” Antony added. Replying to queries on his talks with his Afghan counterpart Abdul Rahim Wardak during his recent visit here Antony said that India’s “unique” friendship with Afghanistan is not aimed against any other country “Whatever help India is extending to Afghanistan is not against any country. It is a unique relationship. India is willing to extend more training facilities for their armed forces and also support the Afghan Government as per their requirement,” defence minister A.K. Antony told reporters .
Emphasizing the efforts made by India in Afghanistan, Antony said: “We want to help the people of Afghanistan in their reconstruction efforts. We want a strong democratic government there. They are in transition, they are in difficulties. So as a friend, India is trying to help them in development, reconstruction, education and health.” India has been actively involved in the modernization programs in Afghanistan and is viewed as one of its trusted allies.