Afzal Khan in Islamabad
The two-day India Pakistan defence secretary-level talks on Siachen ended Tuesday amid continuing stalemate.
A joint statement issued here at the conclusion of the talks did not point to any progress but affirmed desire to continue the dialogue process. It said the two sides will meet again at mutually agreed dates to be decided later.
The India delegation flew to Lahore later in the afternoon on way to New Delhi.
The Pakistan side was led by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi and the Indian side by her counterpart Shashi Kant Sharma. “Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to make serious, sustained and result-oriented efforts for seeking an amicable resolution of Siachen,” said a joint statement issued at the end of the talks.
It was agreed to continue the dialogue on Siachen in keeping with the desire of the leaders of both countries for early resolution of all outstanding issues, the statement said.
The two countries “acknowledged that the ceasefire (in Siachen) was holding since 2003.”
Speaking to media representatives, the Indian defence secretary said the two countries had made progress on the Siachen dispute. He said both sides had exchanged recommendations in order to resolve the dispute. India and Pakistan had prepared a list of recommendations for a resolution which would be presented to both governments.
The two countries also agreed to hold foreign minister-level talks in Islamabad in July which would focus on the Siachen dispute along with other outstanding issues.
According to Pakistani media reports, the Pakistani side renewed its call for demilitarising the Siachen glacier and pulling back troops to the positions in 1984. The Pakistani side further called for the resolution of the issue in the light of arrangements discussed in 1989 and 1992.
The Indian government has made it clear that any settlement must include the authentication and demarcation of current military positions on Siachen. The move is aimed at thwarting the possible re-induction of troops by Pakistan after any demilitarisation of the glacier.
Pakistan’s Defence Minister Naveed Qamar told The Nation daily: “There is a realisation among both the sides that confrontation would lead to very negative implications that hinder economic and social development.
“Peace is the ultimate solution to bring prosperity to the region. Pakistan and India need to keep peace measures intact so as to eradicate misgivings and move on. Cooperation is the key to success,” he added.
Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to make serious, sustained and result-oriented efforts for seeking an amicable resolution of Siachen. Joint statement