Approach of both sides "constructive and positive"

India and Pakistan on Monday began talks aimed at demilitarising the Siachen glacier, with Defence Secretaries of both countries leading delegations. The talks will continue on Tuesday.

While there is no official word on day one of the 12th round of talks on the issue, Defence Ministry sources maintained that the approach of both sides on the contentious issue was “constructive and positive.”

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Special Secretary R.K. Mathur, Director-General Military Operations Lt.-Gen. A.M. Verma and the Surveyor-General S. Subba Rao are representing India while the Pakistan delegation includes Defence Secretary Lt.-Gen. (Retd.) Syed Ather Ali, Maj.-Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmed, Maj.-Gen. Munwar Ahmed Solehri and Maj.-Gen. (Retd.) Mir Haider Ali Khan.

When the talks opened here, both Secretaries met separately, first for about 25 minutes, and were later joined by the delegations. Mr. Kumar hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting delegation, which later made a courtesy call on Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Describing the historical nature of the issue, the Defence Ministry had earlier said the Cease Fire Line and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir were delineated by the Karachi agreement 1949 and the Shimla agreement 1972 respectively up to point NJ 9842.

Not delineated

“The area beyond this point has remained un-delineated. This has led to different interpretations. The Karachi agreement describes the CFL up to point NJ 9842 and mentions that ‘it thereafter lies northwards towards the glaciers.' Similarly, the Shimla agreement is also silent on the delineation beyond NJ 9842,” the release said.

Pakistan claims that the line joins NJ 9842 with Karakoram Pass, which is North West of NJ 9842. The Indian position is that the line runs towards the glaciers along the watersheds formed by the Saltoro Range as per the internationally accepted principle of border delineation, it added.