Pakistan protests Indian trek on disputed glacier

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Islamabad, Sep 17 (Reuters) Pakistan summoned an Indian diplomat today to protest against an Indian plan to open the disputed Siachen Glacier to tourists, saying the move could cast a shadow over their slow-moving peace process.

The Indian army is planning to take a group of trekkers to the Himalayan glacier, where rival forces have faced off since 1984 across what is known as the world's highest battlefield.

''The Indian deputy high commissioner was told that the Indian plans to open up the disputed territory for touristic purpose was viewed with deep concern by Pakistan,'' Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told a weekly briefing.

''The area remains a conflict zone and the reported move by India to open up Siachen for tourism could aggravate the situation with serious consequences that could vitiate the atmosphere for the ongoing peace process.'' ''Despite Pakistan's earnest efforts, progress on resolving the Siachen dispute has remained stalled due to India's inflexible attitude,'' Aslam said.

Indian newspapers said up to 20 people were due to be taken on a three-week trek in the region beginning next week.

REUTERS SKB HT1630

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