Pakistan, India finalising details on Siachen talks: FO

Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said Thursday it was finalising details for the next round of talks with India over the disputed Siachen Glacier, a day after the army chief called for the area to be demilitarised.

There have been several rounds of negotiations between Delhi and Islamabad on Siachen in recent years and Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan said Thursday that the plans for the next talks were in hand.“It is being discussed at defence secretary level. The next meeting will be held in Pakistan and they are finalising the dates,” he told reporters.“We have made several proposals under the Siachen dialogue process, including the redeployment of forces.”

However, the Foreign Office spokesman stressed that Pakistan had not changed it’s position on Siachen, and that there was no policy change on the issue.“It is in our mutual interest that we address all the issues in a meaningful and result-oriented manner,” he said.The two countries would have to find some way to move forward, he added.On Wednesday, General Ashfaq Kayani had called for a negotiated end to the confrontation and said the glacier should be demilitarised.

The move was reciprocated from the other side of the border when Indian Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju on Thursday welcomed Kayani’s call for Siachen’s demilitarisation, according to Indian media reports.Kayani, speaking after visiting the Gayari camp where the army says 129 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried by the avalanche, stressed the importance of “peaceful coexistence” between India and Pakistan.“This conflict should be resolved, but how it is resolved, the two countries have to talk about it,” he said. – Dawn