India, Pakistan defense secretaries hold talks on Siachen issue

08:36, May 31, 2011      

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Defense Secretaries of India and Pakistan met Monday here for the first time after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 to discuss the long outstanding issue of Siachen in Kashmir.

Siachen, the world's highest militarised zone, has been a flash point between India and Pakistan over differences on the location of the 110-km long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) which passes through the Soltoro Ridge and Siachen Glacier.

"The two countries have decided to demilitarize the Siachen Glacier, but the matter is stuck as there are apprehensions on both sides," officials in the Indian Defense Ministry told Xinhua.

Indian Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar is leading the Indian delegation at the two-day talks with his Pakistani counterpart Syed Ather Ali.

The defense secretary-level talks between the two countries on Siachen date back to 1985 when Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Pakistani President General Zia-ul-Haq made the decision.

India wants Pakistan to mark the AGPL, both on the map and the ground, as it occupies most of the dominating posts on the Saltoro Ridge. On the other hand, Pakistan wants to maintain the pre-1972 troop positions as agreed in the Simla Agreement.

Responding to Pakistan Army's advance in the glacier in 1984, India launched "Operation Meghdoot" and deployed troops in most of the dominating positions in the area.

The Pakistani Defense Secretary will call on Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony later.

Source: Xinhua
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