NEW DEHLI: Virtually dismissing Pakistan’s overtures for a peaceful resolution of the Siachen issue, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony cautioned New Delhi against expecting any breakthrough at the meeting of defence secretaries from both countries in Islamabad on June 11 and 12. “Do not expect any dramatic announcement or decision on an issue which is very important for us, especially in the context of (our) national security… You cannot expect a dramatic announcement from one discussion,” Antony said while interacting with reporters after felicitating athletes from the country’s three services in New Delhi.
He added Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma will explain the Indian stance on Siachen during the talks with his Pakistani counterpart.
India’s Cabinet Committee on Security discussed Siachen while meeting on Thursday. The stumbling block against any possible breakthrough on the issue remains the same – the authentication of the two sides’ current military positions along the glacier.
Following the massive avalanche that buried a Pakistan Army camp on April 7, killing 129 soldiers and 11 civilians, Islamabad has repeatedly pushed for the demilitarisation of Siachen by both sides. Pakistan Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has advocated a peaceful settlement of the Siachen issue, raising hopes that troop withdrawal from the ‘world’s highest battlefield’ was imminent.
During his meeting with Indian Premier Manmohan Singh shortly after the incident took place, President Asif Ali Zardari advocated the demilitarisation of Siachen as well.
The Indian side, however, seeks the authentication of military positions along the Siachen Glacier — an idea that Pakistan objects to.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2012.