Defence Secretary in Pakistan for talks on Siachen

June 11, 2012 12:22 am | Updated November 16, 2021 11:49 pm IST - ISLAMABAD:

Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for crucial talks over the military standoff on the Siachen glacier against the backdrop of calls to demilitarise the world's highest battlefield following an avalanche that killed 139 people.

The two-day talks on the Siachen issue, part of the resumed dialogue process between India and Pakistan, will begin at the Defence Ministry in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Monday.

The Pakistani side will be led by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi, a close confidant of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Officials said Mr. Sharma would also hold talks with Pakistan's Defence Minister Naveed Qamar, who recently took over the portfolio as part of a minor reshuffle.

Despite Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's call for the resolution of issues such as Siachen after an avalanche buried 139 people at a high-altitude army camp on April 7, analysts believe the two sides are unlikely to make progress in the talks on ending the standoff that began in 1984.

Ahead of the talks, Defence Minister A.K. Antony cautioned against expecting any breakthrough at the meeting of the Defence Secretaries.

“Do not expect any dramatic announcement or decision on an issue which is very important for us, especially in the context of national security....You cannot expect a dramatic announcement from one discussion,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

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