Back to Siachen
Indian Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar and his Pakistani counterpart Lt. General (Retd) Syed Ather Ali met in New Delhi on May 31 to discuss a wide range of issues including the demilitarization of Siachen, picking up the threads of the issue after a gap of three years.
Both sides began two days of closed-door talks on withdrawing forces from the mountainous Siachen glacier in disputed Himalayan territory, where they have faced off since 1984.
However, the two sides were unable to come to a resolution. India wants Pakistan to authenticate the Actual Ground Possession Land, both on the maps and the ground, as it occupies most of the dominating posts on the Saltoro Ridge. Pakistan, in turn, has been insisting on maintaining the pre-1972 troop positions as agreed in the Simla Agreement.
At a joint statement issued in the Indian capital, the two sides agreed to meet again on an unspecified date in Islamabad to resume what will be the 13th round of talks that have remained suspended since the 2008 Mumbai massacre.
The decision to take the dialogue process forward between the two countries was taken last year during the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani in Thimpu.
Both countries have long accepted the need to demilitarize Siachen, located as high as 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above sea level, where, military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain has claimed more lives than gunfire.