India denies back channel talks on Siachen | india | Hindustan Times
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India denies back channel talks on Siachen

india Updated: Dec 26, 2006 15:32 IST
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The government on Tuesday denied a newspaper report saying that Prime Minister's Special Envoy Satinder Lambah flew to Lahore last week to hold back channel talks on resolution of the Siachen issue and new Pakistani "ideas" on Kashmir.

"The report is factually incorrect," external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said in response to a question on a front-page report published in Tuesday's edition of a leading daily here.

The spokesperson, however, did not comment on specific contents of the report.

The report said that Lambah, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy for the India-Pakistan dialogue, flew to Lahore last week to hold back-channel talks with his counterpart Tariq Aziz on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's new "ideas" on Kashmir and push for a forward momentum for resolution of the Siachen issue.

According to this report, Lambah's trip to Lahore came a day before Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Amritsar, spoke about the need for India and Pakistan to put decades of acrimonious past behind them and agree on a peace, security and friendship treaty.

Both sides are pushing for withdrawal of troops from the Saltoro ridge overlooking the Siachen Glacier, the report said, adding that a breakthrough on demilitarisation of the Siachen was the focus of back channel talks between India and Pakistan.

The report also talks about the two sides engaged in negotiations on some way to accommodate New Delhi's position of recognising the Indian Army's positions on the ridge and the glacier in the overall agreement.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan, during his visit here last month, had spoken about Islamabad's willingness to consider this provided authentication of actual position of troops did not endorse New Delhi's claims on the glacier.

In his speech in Amritsar, Manmohan Singh, in a clear reference to Musharraf's four-point formula revolving around joint management of Kashmir, demilitarisation, self-governance with a view to making the LoC irrelevant, had said that India welcomed "all ideas as they contribute to the ongoing thought process."

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