Talks hit stalemate on Siachen demilitarisation

Published: June 1, 2011
India's Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and his Pakistani counterpart Lieutenant-General (retired) Syed Athar Ali (R) walk after their meeting in New Delhi May 30, 2011. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

India's Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and his Pakistani counterpart Lieutenant-General (retired) Syed Athar Ali (R) walk after their meeting in New Delhi May 30, 2011. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Pakistan and India on Tuesday ended a 12th round of talks over the Siachen Glacier without a hint of agreement on the modalities of a proposed demilitarisation and other key issues related to their tense standoff.

The sole sign of optimism, if any, on the second day of the talks was that both Pakistan and India decided to meet again at a mutually convenient date in Islamabad. New Delhi insists that Islamabad must authenticate present troop position of the two sides.

While Pakistan insists on maintaining the pre-1972 troop positions, as agreed in the Simla Agreement, India wants its neighbour to authenticate the Actual Ground Position Line both on the maps as well as on the ground.

Islamabad emerged as a strong proponent of demilitarisation, raising the issue of climate change due to the continued presence of troops from both sides and its impact on the environment.

An anodyne, neutral joint statement acknowledging cordiality in talks and an enhanced understanding of each other’s presence brought to a close the defence secretary-level talks on the Siachen Glacier.

“Both sides presented their positions and suggestions towards the resolution of Siachen,” it said following the two-day talks between Defence Secretary Syed Athar Ali and his Indian counterpart Pradeep Kumar. They also acknowledged that the ceasefire was holding since November 2003.

They presented their positions and suggestions towards the resolution of Siachen. The Pakistan side presented a non-paper on Siachen. A non-paper, in government parlance, is an off-the-record, unofficial presentation of a stated policy.

The Indian side offered to “study” the non-paper and discuss it with their Pakistani counterparts when the both sides meet next time.

Apart from the delegation-level talks, the two defence secretaries met one-on-one, and the head of the Pakistani delegation also called on Defence Minister A.K. Antony. Both countries’ foreign secretaries, commerce secretaries and home secretaries have held meetings in the past three months.

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.

Siachen is considered the “low-hanging fruit” of the India-Pakistan peace process. India and Pakistan will, sooner or later, find a way to bring their troops back down from Siachen. But when they do, the move will be of greater significance than clashing over icy wasteland. It will be a major move towards peace and trust. However, nothing seems to suggest that it is going to happen anytime soon, especially in the midst of conditions as disturbed internally as they are in Pakistan.

The meeting in New Delhi was part of the start-stop peace process aimed at bringing lasting stability to South Asia and Tuesday’s statement said the two countries “welcomed the ongoing dialogue process.”

New Delhi broke off all contact with Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were staged by Lashkar-e-Taiba according to Indian and Western intelligence.

With input from news wires

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (23)

  • khalid shaukat
    May 31, 2011 - 2:23PM

    Great,the ghairat brigade got its birthday gift early this year.
    This will please our rightwing religious fascists a great deal,now they can blow their old horn once more,how india is our greatest enemy & that the word india & peace can’t exist in the same sentence.One downfall of 9/11 for us has been that we had to stop our jihadi terrorists from crossing over to india & unfortunately that resulted in those religious fanatics to turn their hate & anger towards pakistan.
    Hopefully our army can wipe out the islamic fanatics who’ve already killed 35000 of our people.Recommend

  • Sajjan Beparwah
    May 31, 2011 - 2:24PM


  • Positive Pakistani (from Karachi)
    May 31, 2011 - 2:35PM

    and they still have smiles on their faces…….wow…..bravooooo!!Recommend

  • tahir
    May 31, 2011 - 2:40PM

    Why will india listen to our opinion?

    its we who will have to bend and take soft approach…

    we are losing 1 billion dollar and so are they..They can afford to do so but we will get bankrupt…

    Hence we should unilaterally give those land to indians and in return we should ask them for some money..Recommend

  • Adeel
    May 31, 2011 - 2:41PM

    Pradeep Kumar is an electrical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and a Masters in Economic and Social Studies from the University of Wales, UK. Whereas Pakistan have sent a boot to talk with such a person on siachen issue. What can you expect!! Recommend

  • dude
    May 31, 2011 - 2:51PM

    its not easy to solve dispute, but keeping talking will definitely get there bit by bit. Meantime terrorist should kept tied to the pole.Recommend

  • vasan
    May 31, 2011 - 3:55PM

    If Pakistan agrees to dump some high value terrorists in Siachen with no support, then India may agree to Pak opinion.Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    May 31, 2011 - 5:16PM

    Disputes are not solved in a day. The important thing is that the process should continue.Recommend

  • Junaid
    May 31, 2011 - 5:43PM

    if any one of them had been sincere enough they could have atleast made a breakthrough on this NON issue, i wonder how we r going to solve important issues i.e Kashmir, water etcRecommend

    May 31, 2011 - 5:58PM

    The chances of agreement on Siachin issue ie extremly remote as India apprehends that Pakistan may gift this area to China.Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 6:42PM

    very interesting !Recommend

  • Pragmatist
    May 31, 2011 - 7:39PM

    It costs nearly Rs.15000 million a year (nearly 30 billion Pakistani rupees) for each nation to maintain their armies in the Siachen wasteland. It serves no strategic purpose and yet the two nations will not agree to demilitarize. Ludicrous !!Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 7:43PM

    You know they (both India and Pakistan) have developed a new Technology…..they can change Ice into Diamonds… so thats why they are not giving up the Ice.Recommend

  • Hemant Sardesai
    May 31, 2011 - 7:45PM

    We are negotiating with open mind. Pakistanis are here and even before anything definite is established we get a call from Defense Ministry to question their motives and hinting about their poor security. We don’t feel independent when ever defense meeting take place. Someone from our side down plays. I think if we want to solve these issues seriously we have to invite neutral countries like may be Chile, Venezuela. Recommend

  • Cautious
    May 31, 2011 - 8:08PM

    On the bright side at least the Pakistan military didn’t test another nuke system during these talks – that’s progress.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    May 31, 2011 - 8:15PM

    The Indians have not forgotten the Kargil Adventure !!!!Recommend

  • G. Din
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:31AM

    @kamil shah:
    “….they can change Ice into Diamonds… so thats why they are not giving up the Ice.”
    I don’t know about Pakistan but India is on the glacier because it is more precious than the diamonds – it is a part of our motherland.
    I suggest you don’t talk about it either lest the word get to the Americans and it stops the flow of billions in your direction.Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2011 - 8:10AM

    ….it is a part of “OUR” motherland.

    Things like “Atoot Ang” and “OUR” takes us back to 1948, 1965 and 1971. As far as Dollars from Americans are concern they are corrupt leaders and no one likes them. How many Indians are living below poverty line??? Average life of a Pakistani is much better than an Indian. “Slum dog” is a Racist word…and you people are proud of it and are happy for winning Oscars for that. Recommend

  • arvind
    Jun 1, 2011 - 8:46AM

    In the present stalemate both countries loose. India can afford it , Pakistan can’t. As simple as that.Recommend

  • ashwin
    Jun 1, 2011 - 11:46AM

    One Suggestion sign the AGPL agreement, with reference to both ground positions and boundaries on Map.

    @kamil Shah: For all your rhetoric.We can pay our bills, as simple as that. Chill dude and have some chai and biskoot.Recommend

  • its camel shah
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:40PM

    @kamil shah
    u r living in ur own made world, its u who deciding that Indians are proud of saying ‘slum dog’.
    India is a country with population almost 8 times than urs, then the number of below poverty may be large.
    then according to u Luxemburg is richer than America, no wonder.
    compare HDI of both countries. Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:27PM

    It is not at all surprising that India and Pakistan failed to reach an agreement even in the twelfth round of their talks on the demilitarization of Siachin which is considered to be a relatively simpler of the issues between the two countries. The result has been the same in talks with India on other issues, and the end result – a desire to continue the talks, much the same way as Israel talks with Palestinians.

    Siachin is of great interest to India from another angle as well. The Indians once took an American general to Siachin from where a large part of China is visible. So Siachin has become of great interest to both who are becoming great buddies now. The US wants to contain China and India has ambitions to overtake and subdue China, with American help. Just shows how stupid some people and countries can get.

    India is not at all interested in solving issues and developing friendly ties with us. It has started this farce of negotiations perhaps at the insistence of Americans who want to convince us that India is not our enemy, hence we can safely transfer more troops from Indian border to start North Waziristan operation.

    Overcoming their past animosity, the Europeans have joined hands to form European Union and they are cooperating with Americans as well. And here we are, trying to befriend distant countries and cutting the throats of our immediate neighbours. The colonial powers which successfully set us against each other in the past in pursuance of their divide-and-rule policy, are doing the same once more and this time, US has also joined them.

    When will we wake up, if ever.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Jun 2, 2011 - 11:59AM

    Well, India’s casualty rates now are negligible with all the Technological advancements it has made with respect to surviving on the Glacier. And, India holds a position 2000 ft above any Pakistani one. Why should it give up if Pakistan is not going to guarantee its not going to repeat Kargil?

    The Bills are high, but percentage-wise its is negligible, considering India’s GDP and very high for Pakistan for the same reason.

    The Question is why shouldn’t Pakistan give Iron Clad guarantees that it will not attempt another Kargil?

    Better safe than sorry, the Indians think.

    @Kamil Shah,

    Man, you guys are so brainwashed that you actually think Pakistan is more prosperous than India! So, I guess its a waste of time for me to provide you IMF and WB data. So, happy head in the sand!Recommend

More in Pakistan