Pak envoy discusses Siachen with Menon | india | Hindustan Times
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Pak envoy discusses Siachen with Menon

india Updated: Sep 21, 2007 20:59 IST
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Pakistan's High Commissioner Shahid Malik met Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and discussed a range of bilateral issues, including the decades-old dispute over the Siachen glacier and the Indian trekking expedition to the glacial heights.

Malik met Menon on Thursday and conveyed Islamabad's objections to the Indian decision to go ahead with a planned trekking expedition by tourists to Siachen, better known as the world's highest battlefield, a reliable source told IANS.

Pakistan's foreign ministry had protested against the trek a few days ago and sought that the 4 trek be scrapped as the Siachen glacier was a disputed area and talks under the composite dialogue were going on between the two countries to resolve the dispute.

"It was a friendly meeting and scheduled well in advance of the proposed Indian trek to Siachen. All bilateral issues were discussed," the source told IANS.

Menon and Malik took a broad overview of India-Pakistan relations and discussed the forthcoming meeting of the anti-terror mechanism to be held in New Delhi on Oct 22.

India and Pakistan will hold meetings on conventional confidence building measures on October 18, 2007 and on nuclear confidence building measures on October 19.

Menon conveyed India's decision to go ahead with the trek and underlined the Indian position that the actual position of troops on the glacier must be authenticated on the ground as well as on the map before talks on demilitarisation of the Siachen can begin.

Army Chief Gen JJ Singh on Friday defended India's right to send trekkers to Siachen, saying New Delhi will "actively encourage tourists to go on mountaineering expeditions to the glacial heights."

"No, it is not a case of needling Pakistan. We are well within our rights to send trekkers to Siachen. In fact, we are actively encouraging tourists to go on mountaineering expeditions to the glacial heights," Gen Singh told reporters in Kolkata.

The defence ministry has cleared bureaucratic glitches for tourists to head to Siachen.

The Army has organised an acclimatisation and training module for trekkers at Leh from September 19 to October 11.