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India, Pakistan to continue talks on Siachen

File photo of an Indian Army base camp in Siachen glacier, about 750 kilometres northwest of Jammu. Photo: AP

File photo of an Indian Army base camp in Siachen glacier, about 750 kilometres northwest of Jammu. Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: CHANNI ANAND

India and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to continue discussions to demilitarise Siachen glacier, where ceasefire has held good for the last eight years. Both sides presented their respective points of view and suggestions to resolve the outstanding issue.

Describing the 12th round of talks on the issue as having been held in a “frank and cordial” atmosphere, a joint statement at the end of the two-day parleys here said that it contributed to “an enhanced understanding of each other's position on Siachen. They also acknowledged that the ceasefire was holding since November 2003. Both sides presented their positions and suggestions towards the resolution of Siachen.”

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar led the Indian delegation while his Pakistan counterpart Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Syed Athar Ali headed the delegation from the other side. The Pakistan side presented a non-paper (unofficial paper) on Siachen.

Both sides to meet again

“Both sides agreed to continue the discussions in a meaningful and result-oriented manner. They agreed to meet again at a mutually convenient date in Islamabad,” the statement said.

Sources in the government said the non-paper was handed over to the Indian side towards the conclusion of the discussions which would be perused in due course. While the Pakistan side sought to push for demilitarising the glacier, described as the highest battleground in the world, India had conveyed that Islamabad needed to dismantle the terror camps operating on its soil.

Terror camps

On the eve of the talks, New Delhi's clear and unequivocal stand on it was articulated by Defence Minister A.K. Antony who said in Kannur that dismantling of terror camps in Pakistan was the key to solving the problems between the two countries. He said India had reports that 42 such camps were present in Pakistan.

Among the issues that remained to be sorted out, the sources said, was modalities to authenticate the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line in the Saltro-Ridge-Siachen region. The Indian Army holds a dominant position on the ridge.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 9:13:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/India-Pakistan-to-continue-talks-on-Siachen/article13817903.ece

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