India rejects Pak protest to Siachen trek

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New Delhi, Oct 22 : The Union Government today argued that it does not see how the Siachen trek will have an adverse impact on the dialogue process after it rejected Pakistan's protest against India allowing civilian trekking in the uninhabitable Siachen Glacier.

Defence Minister A K Antony informed Rajya Sabha that India had suitably replied to Pakistan, clarifying that trekking expeditions to Siachen have been taking place in the past too.

"India does not see how these will have an adverse impact on the dialogue process," he said, referring to the argument given by Pakistan for protesting against the civilian trek to the world's highest battlefield.

The Defence Ministry had last year opened up the Siachen Glacier for civilian adventure tourism by sending a team of mountaineers to the snowy heights on a 20-day trek.

Pakistan had protested then, expressing deep concern over the media report in this regard and stating that Siachen issue was being discussed within the framework of the composite dialogue between the two countries.

This year too, India sent a team to Siachen for the expedition and the trekkers returned to Leh on Tuesday after the 20-day trip.

However, this year the team could not reach the intended destination of the trek to Kumar Post and stopped short by 18 km due to bad weather.

The trouble in 72-km Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir started after Pakistan prepared to send a Japanese expedition to the dizzying heights in 1984.

Antony told Rajya Sabha that Siachen, which falls within Jammu and Kashmir, is an integral part of India. Trekking expeditions have been taking place in the area subject to appropriate clearance, he added.

ANI

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