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Siachen: India, Pak agree to identify troop position

April 28, 2007 16:35 IST
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India and Pakistan have agreed on identification of their troops' positions on Siachen glacier via satellite survey, raising hopes for the lasting settlement of a contentious issue, diplomatic sources said.

The South Asian nuclear rivals have been striving for a resolution on the row over the demilitarisation of the world's highest battlefield for months and of late, have made progress on the identification of troops' position with the help of satellite, The Nation newspaper quoted sources as saying.

It was a vital development and could pave the way for a final settlement, they said.

Pakistan and India have, so far, held 11 rounds of formal talks to resolve the 22-year-old Siachen issue, one of the eight conflicting matters on the Indo-Pak composite dialogue agenda, set back in January 2004 with the commencement of the peace process.

The last round of defence secretary-level talks was held early this month in Rawalpindi that did not yield the desired results, raising serious questions about the efficacy of the composite dialogue process, the paper reported.

However, the sources said that with agreement on troops' position, identification of the two sides could now move at a faster pace towards settlement of the Siachen issue.

"This is what they will do now as the early settlement of this vital issue is also linked to the much awaited visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan who desires a substantial trip," a source said.

He claimed that despite all hopes and expectations, what matters most was the attitude of the Indian defence establishment that was against the demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier fearing that it would be occupied by Pakistan once vacated by the Indian troops.

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Source: source