New Delhi (Xinhua): India and Pakistan Tuesday failed to break ice on the issue of demilitarization of Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battlefield, after two days of Defense Secretary-level talks in the Indian national capital.
Though there has been no breakthrough in the talks, both India and Pakistan welcomed the dialogue, saying that the discussions were “frank and cordial”.
“The talks contributed to enhancing understanding of each others position on Siachen. Both sides agreed to continue the discussions in a meaningful and result-oriented manner. They agreed to meet again on a mutually convenient date in Islamabad,” said a joint statement issued by India and Pakistan.
India and Pakistan, in fact, began their first Defense Secretary-level talks here on Monday after three years, aiming at demilitarizing the Siachen glacier in the Himalayas.
The Indian delegation is being led by Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar, and the Pakistani team is being led by his counterpart Lt General (Retd) Syed Ather Ali.
Siachen borders both parts of Indian and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. The two countries agreed a ceasefire deal over the Siachen glacier in 2003 but have yet to agree on how to withdraw troops.
India stopped the composite dialogue with Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. Two months ago, India and Pakistan agreed to resume dialogue “on all issues”.
India in 1984 occupied key areas on Siachen, raising fears of another all-out conflict between the neighbours, and in 1987 the two militaries fought a fierce skirmish on the 6,300-metre (20,800-foot) high frigid mass.
Ties between the nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, have improved over the last year after contacts between prime ministers and other senior government figures.
The meeting in New Delhi was part of the start-stop peace process aimed at bringing lasting stability to South Asia and Tuesday’s statement said the two countries “welcomed the ongoing dialogue process.”
India broke off all contact with Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were staged by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba according to Indian and Western intelligence.