Lingering dispute: India, Pakistan open Siachen talks today

Published: May 30, 2011
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Pakistani delegation led by lieutenant general Syed Ather Ali (L) and Indian delegation led by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar (R) shake hands during the two-day defence secretary level talks between the two nations regarding the Siachen glacier . PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani delegation led by lieutenant general Syed Ather Ali (L) and Indian delegation led by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar (R) shake hands during the two-day defence secretary level talks between the two nations regarding the Siachen glacier . PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani delegation led by lieutenant general Syed Ather Ali (L) and Indian delegation led by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar (R) shake hands during the two-day defence secretary level talks between the two nations regarding the Siachen glacier . PHOTO: AFP
ISLAMABAD: 

Senior defence officials from Pakistan and India are set to open two-day talks in New Delhi today, marking the latest efforts by the two nuclear-armed neighbours to push for the settlement of the Siachen – world’s highest battlefield – dispute.

However, the talks – first of their kind in four-years – are unlikely to produce any major breakthrough, a Pakistani defence official told The Express Tribune.

The negotiations on Siachen between Pakistan Defence Secretary Lt. General (retd) Syed Athar Ali and his Indian counterpart Pradeep Kumar are part of the composite dialogue the two countries had agreed to resume in April this year.

The peace process remained suspended for almost two and a half years following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, which India blamed on Laskhar-e-Taiba which is allegedly based in Pakistan.

However, the two neighbours revived the process when Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, visited Mohali to watch the 2011 World Cup cricket semi-final between the two archrivals.

Indian media has reported that New Delhi is expected to press Pakistan to authenticate the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) along the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro ridge in Jammu and Kashmir when the defence secretaries meet.

However, a Pakistani official says this will be the most contentious debate between the two countries’ negotiators.

“Pakistan cannot authentic AGPL along the Siachen Glacier,” said the official.

The conflict began in 1984 when Indian forces launched a successful operation to force Pakistani troops to retreat west of the Saltoro ridge. Since then the two countries fought intermittently in the region, as high as 20,000 feet, until it ended in a ceasefire in 2003.

Former president Pervez Musharraf once stated that Pakistan lost almost 900 square miles of territory in Siachen due to the Indian operation. Over 2,000 troops have died from both sides, majority of them not because of clashes but due to harsh weather.

“It is a false ego that prevents the two countries from the resolution of the Siachen dispute,” commented defence analyst Lt. General (retd) Talat Masood.

“We have agreements on the table on Siachen and it’s just a question of political parties to make the next decisive move,” he added. But, given the history, he said he expected “some movement” in the talks but not any major breakthrough.

History shows that apart from the Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960, Pakistan and India have yet to resolve a single issue bilaterally.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • ikmundapunjabi
    May 30, 2011 - 10:11AM

    c’mon india and pakistan, do we really have to fight for a useless and uninhabited place that has already killed 2000 of our soldiers. get over ur ego’s and fix this thing pleaseeee,we(india and pakistan) have bigger issues in our countries that need immediate attention and action.Recommend

  • ashwin
    May 30, 2011 - 10:39AM

    Get the Chinese out of POK may be we think of Siachen, anyways any agreement with Pakistan, is invalidated by Pakistanis.Pakistan does not adhere to any law or agreement.Example of it they was renegotiate water agreement with India, isn’t it a settled agreement. Recommend

  • Good guy
    May 30, 2011 - 12:30PM

    Any agreement with civil Government of Pakistan is valid ?
    Pakistan can not settle any issue with India with one hand on Gun and second hand helping
    terrorist who attack India.

    Due to this all this meeting ended with out result…….

    Lets keep all this issue burning …This make India more united otherwise more separate movement in India…

    Due to Islam , we Hindu are united otherwise we start fighting with each other.Recommend

  • Feroz
    May 30, 2011 - 12:46PM

    The two countries are running around in circles. It is unlikely that anything will come out of this meeting unless the issues of Terrorism that plague both countries are discussed boldly and frankly. Pakistan is in a very tight corner and hardly in a position to negotiate anything with anybody. The public opinion in India is very critical of both Pakistan as well its own Government for failing to take steps to bring the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice. PM Manmohan Singh has tried to stick his neck out in making peace but lacks support. Best is for the two countries to agree in principle to not interfere in each others affairs and meet after 5 years to take stock of the situation. The five years can be productively spent in cleaning up their own houses.Recommend

  • Adnan Khan
    May 30, 2011 - 1:14PM

    @ashwin: It seems your media is feeding you too many things about Pakistan. Better develop your own conscience boy. I have met so many Indians in my life and 95% of them have showed their intentions to capture or take control of Pakistan one way or the other. Pakistan was never under Indian administration we were a country but we could not live together thats why the division happened. We ruled the region for 700 years and wont accept your administration upon us.Recommend

  • CP
    May 30, 2011 - 1:46PM

    @Adnan :-

    Get over your paranoia of India wanting Pakistan dude.

    We don’t want another 180 million troublesome, violence prone Muslims in our beautiful country.We want our country to remain a Hindu Majority one. The majority of the poison was removed in 1947 and we Indians are not fools to drink that poison again.Recommend

  • Thinking
    May 30, 2011 - 2:53PM

    @ Adnan – 99% of Indians want Pakistan to be it’s own country.Recommend

  • G. Din
    May 30, 2011 - 3:13PM

    If Pakistan doesn’t suffer from negotiating in bad faith or doesn’t intend double-crossing India, why should it have any problem in authenticating the LOC on Siachen, the only requirement that keeps the two countries from signing an accord?Recommend

  • Adnan Khan
    May 30, 2011 - 4:07PM

    @CP: Teach it to your countrymen then and next time i hear this argument from an Indian that they want to take us over, I ll let them know about your thoughts too :)Recommend

  • ashwin
    May 30, 2011 - 4:26PM

    @Adnan Khan: Dude we don’t want your paranoid population to be a part of India we have so many internal problems which is hurting our growth. So even if Pakistan wants to accede to India we wouldn’t want that. we would rather have Afghanistan where people are at least brave,unlike Pakistani running from one superpower to another to protects it’s sovereignty. Recommend

  • Krishna
    May 30, 2011 - 4:33PM

    @Adnan, Going by your logic we ruled you for the rest of your existence which will amount to few thousand years.Recommend

  • AD
    May 30, 2011 - 4:45PM

    Talks?……..ever heard this dialogue ” Tareekh,Tareekh pe Tareekh…Tareekh pe Tareekh.Someone please give me handpump.Recommend

  • Sobriquet
    May 30, 2011 - 11:47PM

    @Adnan Khan: At the time of Independence the part that became W. Pakistan had a population of about y 35 million: now it is close to 190 million. Pollution of the environment and the mind has grown even faster; a third of the country is in earthquake-prone regions—where some of the nuclear plants are also located; financially Pakistan is nearly bankrupt and politically it is a mess where more Muslims are killing each other than anywhere else. Considering all this, even a fool would NOT want such a disaster—so either you are suffering from delusion or are simply flattering yourself by claiming that India wants to take over Pakistan. Recommend

  • Adnan Khan
    May 31, 2011 - 2:15AM

    @Sobriquet: Quite confused you seem kid!. Now you are refering to the German decision of aborting nuclear electricity.
    And yes just a little correction, in 1947 it was a “division” and independence from British rule. Here I am refering to your theory of East and West Pakistan took independence from India. Chill :)Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 11:32AM

    @Adnan Khan: Where have I mentioned Germany or independence from India?

    Again: A third of Pakistan is in earthquake-prone regions—where some of the nuclear plants are also located. Despite international aid, Pakistan still hasn’t been able to rebuild what collapsed in the last earthquake, so what will it do when there is seismic damage in its nuclear facilities?

    “At the time of independence” implies independence from Britain. But if you want to be pedantic, it was also independence from India because Pakistan was formed one day before India got its independence. So technically Pakistan was given independence from the ‘Union of India’—the official definition of pre-independence India. ‘Union of India’ is still the official term for the Indian government in the Indian legal system.

    The use of ‘kid’ in your post just shows your desire to try and disparage those you do not even know. Try fixing your attitude and your persecutory delusions; perhaps then you can have a civic and logical exchange. Recommend

  • Jun 13, 2011 - 2:12PM

    Waklnig in the presence of giants here. Cool thinking all around!Recommend

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