India, Pakistan hold talks on Kashmir glacier

Top Indian and Pakistani defence officials began talks here Friday on demilitarising a glacier in disputed Kashmir where freezing temperatures have claimed more lives than actual combat.

India, Pakistan hold talks on Kashmir glacier

Top Indian and Pakistani defence officials began talks hereFriday on demilitarising a glacier in disputed Kashmirwherefreezing temperatures have claimed more lives than actual combat.

The talks will centre on the disclosure of Pakistani military positions inthe 6,300-metre (20,800-feet) Siachen glacier, which India says it requires beforedemilitarisation of the world's highest battlefield can begin.

A nine-member Indian delegation led by Defence Secretary Shekhar Duttarrived in Pakistanlate Thursday for talks with Dutt's newly appointed Pakistani counterpart, KamranRasool.

"The two sides are trying to arrive at some consensus on indicatingpresent positions held by troops of each (side) on the glacier beforewithdrawal of forces," a senior Pakistani foreign ministry official toldAFP on condition of anonymity.

"If an agreement is reached in the meeting it will be formallyannounced when leaders of Pakistanand India(President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) meet sometimelater this year."

The talks are part of the peace process launched in January 2004 byHindu-majority India andmainly Muslim Pakistan, which both hold Kashmirin part and claim it in full.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday called a meeting of hissecurity cabinet to chalk out a framework for the Siachen talks. He was laterquoted as saying he was "hopeful" of a positive outcome.

Experts say India hasaround 5,000 troops on the glacier while Pakistan has less than half thenumber on the frigid wasteland where temperatures plummet to minus 50 degreesCelsius (minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pakistani analyst and retired army general Talat Masood said the statementsfrom both sides in the run-up to the talks were "fairly optimistic."

"It seems there is a possibility the Siachen issue could be settled nowor the signing could be when the Indian prime minister visits Pakistan,"he told AFP.

"There is some sense of strategic value of the glacier because Siachenborders China and India.

"But its real value is political and psychological for both as it liesin disputed Kashmir. Its settlement may helpin improving the overall climate between the two countries."

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
YORUM EKLE