ISLAMABAD – Pakistani defence officials could not get a clear response from their Indian counterparts on the Siachen issue on Monday during the first round of talks on the decades-old dispute.
The Pakistani side had suggested declaring the glacier a non-military area and withdrawing forces to the 1984 position. In the two-day talks, which will continue today (Tuesday), Indian Secretary for Defence Shashikanth Sharma represented the Indian side while the Pakistani side was led by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi. Later, Sharma said though his country was in favour of withdrawing its forces from Siachen, any decision in this regard would be taken in India’s best interest He also expressed grief over the April 7 incident.
Meanwhile, Nargis gave suggestions for materialising the withdrawal of forces from Siachen.
At the end of Monday’s session, the Indian defence secretary held a meeting with Defence Minister Naveed Qamar. India’s Defence Minister AK Antony has warned against any breakthrough, saying that India would explain its “clear-cut position” on Siachen to the Pakistanis. “Do not expect any dramatic announcement or decision on an issue which is very important for us, especially in the context of national security,” he said last week. Pakistani officials were also tight-lipped about the talks. -Pakistantoday