India and Pakistan on Tuesday inched forward in their talks on Siachen saying it has enhanced understanding of each other’s position and agreed to continue the discussions in a meaningful and result-oriented manner.
At the end of the two day-long talks between their Defence Secretaries, the two sides came out with a one-page joint statement. This was interpreted by officials as an indication of “some progress” towards resolution of boundary demarcation on Siachen.
Both the sides also agreed to meet again at a mutually convenient date in Islamabad.
The two sides, meeting after a gap of three years, presented their positions and suggestions to each other towards resolution of Siachen issue, the statement said.
“Both Sides welcomed the ongoing dialogue process. The discussions were held in a frank and cordial atmosphere, contributing to an enhanced understanding of each other’s position on Siachen,” it said.
“They (the delegations from the two sides) also acknowledged that the ceasefire was holding since November 2003. Both sides presented their positions and suggestions towards resolution of Siachen (issue),” the statement said.
Pakistani side also presented a non-paper on Siachen outlining their perceptions on the issue.
Sources in the Defence Ministry said, the mention of non-paper was made in the joint statement following Pakistan’s request.
The Indian delegation was led by Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar while Lieutenant General (retd) Syed Athar Ali represented the Pakistani government.
The decision to resume the talks between the two countries was taken last year during the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Thimpu when they decided to take forward the dialogue process.
Siachen, the world’s highest militarised zone, has been a long pending issue 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.
While India wants Pakistan to authenticate the AGPL both on the maps as well as on the ground, the later insists on maintaining the pre—1972 troop position as agreed in the Simla Agreement.
On its part, Pakistan has been asking for demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier and raised the issue of climate change there due to presence of troops from both sides and its effects on the environment. Hindu