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India, Pak fail to break the ice on Siachen

Stung by occupation of strategic heights in Kargil sector in 1999, India insisted on authentication and demarcation of current positions on Siachen.



Islamabad: India and Pakistan on Tuesday failed to make any headway in ending the military standoff on Siachen with both sides sticking to their stated positions, merely committing themselves to "serious, sustained and result- oriented efforts" for an amicable settlement of the issue.

"Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to make serious, sustained and result-oriented efforts for seeking an amicable resolution of Siachen," said a joint statement issued at the end of the two-day talks on the issue here.

It was agreed to continue the dialogue on Siachen in keeping with the desire of the leaders of both countries for early resolution of all outstanding issues.
The two countries "acknowledged that the ceasefire (in Siachen) was holding since 2003."

They further agreed that the next round of talks on Siachen would be held in New Delhi on mutually convenient dates to be fixed through diplomatic channels.

Emerging from talks with her Indian counterpart Shashikant Sharma, Pakistan`s Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi said Islamabad wants both sides to simultaneously pull out troops from Siachen. The deployment of troops on the glacier is affecting the environment and talks on the issue should be speeded up, she told reporters.

During the talks, the two sides "explained their respective stances" and reiterated stated positions, diplomatic and official sources from both sides said.

According to Pakistani media reports, the Pakistani side renewed its call for demilitarising the Siachen glacier and pulling back troops to the positions in 1984.

The Pakistani side further called for the resolution of the issue in the light of arrangements discussed in 1989 and 1992.

India has made it clear that any settlement must include the authentication and demarcation of current military positions on Siachen. The move is aimed at thwarting the possible re-induction of troops by Pakistan after any demilitarisation of the glacier.

PTI

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