INTERNATIONAL

Ready for pact on Siachen

B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has said it is ready to sign an agreement with India on withdrawal of troops from the Siachen Glacier based on the "understanding" reached in 1989.

The Foreign Office spokesman was commenting on a statement by Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee that while there was an agreement on withdrawal of troops from Siachen, differences remained on the demarcation of present troop positions.

The spokesman said the Indian Defence Minister might have been referring to the 1989 agreement on Siachen, in which the two countries came close to signing an accord but did not. He reiterated Pakistan's readiness to sign an agreement without any delay provided the Indian side was ready to do so as well. However, there were "some major differences on the modalities of withdrawal which the two sides are trying to address." The spokesman said the two countries were engaged in "intense negotiations" to reach an early agreement on withdrawal of troops from Siachen.

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