India, Pak to discuss Siachen issue on June 11-12

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New Delhi, Jun 3: India and Pakistan will discuss the Siachen issue, which has been hanging fire for over two decades, in Islamabad on June 11-12 with an aim of demilitarising the world's highest battle-filed. Defence secretaries of both sides will hold talks on the occasion in an attempt to find a solution to the vexed problem which is proving immensely expensive to both countries, both in terms of monetary and human resources, officials said on Sunday.

The talks will be followed by a discussion on the Sir Creek issue on June 28. These talks were earlier supposed to precede the Siachen issue meet but the schedule was reversed reportedly at the behest of Pakistan. India and Pakistan have held several rounds of talks to resolve the Siachen issue. The two countries were close to an agreement a few years back on demilitarising the region but it failed to fructify as Pakistan refused to authenticate the current military positions of the two sides.

During a visit to Siachen in 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that the two countries should work to convert the highest battlefield into a mountain of peace. Recently Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had contended that India had hardened its position on the Siachen issue compared to that in 1989, saying that it 'takes two hands to clap'. Reacting to Kayani's words, former Indian Army Chief Gen VK Singh said the former's proposal to demilitarise Siachen was nothing but a 'gimmick'.

PTI

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