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End Siachen row, Pakistan and India urged

world Updated: Jun 02, 2011 16:23 IST

IANS
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Pakistan and India must resolve their conflict over the icy mountain peak of Siachen "and withdraw their forces from this futile war of attrition", a Pakistani daily said on Thursday.

An editorial in the Daily Times said: "It is a well-known fact that more soldiers have been lost to the elements in Siachen than enemy fire."

In the world's highest battlefield, "the oxygen is so thin that deployed soldiers fall victim to pulmonary oedema and, in winters, the temperatures can dip to -50 C, resulting in frostbite and equipment being rendered dysfunctional. Troops have to keep firing their weapons to keep them in shape".

It added that the costs of maintaining a military presence were so high that both countries have repeatedly been urged to resolve the conflict and withdraw their forces from Siachen.

The 12th round of defence secretary-level talks on Siachen ended Monday in New Delhi without any breakthrough.

Both New Delhi and Islamabad stuck to their respective positions. India demanded authentication of the Actual Ground Position Line, while Pakistan insisted on maintaining the pre-1984 stand.

"This signifies the height of mistrust, which is compelling the two neighbours to continue their misadventure in pursuit of some nebulous future strategic objectives and ambitions rather than looking at the ground realities today," the editorial said.

"21st century imperatives lay emphasis on economic power and development of human resources, not military superiority.

"The two countries must respond to these imperatives and grow out of the hangover of their past. They must resolve the Siachen conflict and withdraw their forces from this futile war of attrition."