India must continue to hold on to Siachen: Army Chief
New Delhi: Against the backdrop of Pakistani push for demilitarisation of Siachen, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh on Wednesday made it clear that the Indian military would not like to move out of the "strategically important" icy heights for which a "lot of blood has been shed".
He said the Army has conveyed its views to the Government which has to take a final decision in this regard.
"It is very important and we must continue to hold that area and we have held that view always.... We have lost our lives and lot of blood has been shed to get into these areas and occupy the heights and positions.
"These positions are of strategic importance and we have given our concerns to the Government and now it is for the Government to decide," Gen Singh said in a media interaction.
He was responding to a query on India`s stand on the Siachen issue.
Pakistan has been pushing for demilitarisation of Siachen but India has maintained that this cannot take place without proper authentication by both sides of the present troop positions on the Glacier.
Asked if the Army believed that the Glacier has to be held under control then why the talks were being held, he said, "The negotiations are at government level and at the national level. Let us see, how these negotiations progress but we have given our point of view."
Gen Singh said the Army has not changed its views on the importance of the strategic heights which have been under Indian physical control since 1984 after the Army launched to Operation Meghdoot to occupy them.
Asked how much flexible India was willing to be on the issue, he said it was discussed during the 13th round of Defence Secretary-level talks held in Islamabad.
"This is one of the issues supposed to have been discussed and it was not concluded at that point of time and I think it will carry forward. I think modalities have to be worked out during the dialogue to be held next year."
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Pervez Kiyani had recently made another pitch for the demilitarisation of the Glacier after losing over 100 soldiers in Gyari there in an avalanche.
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