India, Pak fail to reach consensus on Siachen | world | Hindustan Times
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India, Pak fail to reach consensus on Siachen

world Updated: Apr 07, 2007 22:24 IST

Pakistan and India wrapped a two-day meeting on Saturday without any agreement on withdrawal of troops from the mountainous Siachen glacier, officials said.

The talks between their top defence ministry officials were held in Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad as part of the ongoing peace dialogue between the nuclear-armed south Asian rivals.

"There was no significant breakthrough in the talks," a Pakistan defence ministry official said.

The official said the Indian side did not budge from its position that Pakistan should disclose the current location of its forces on the 6,300 metre (20,800-feet) high glacier before any withdrawal of troops.

Pakistani side said such a move would mean acceptance of "their occupation" of the barren heights. Pakistan wants to go back to the pre-1987 positions.

"The two sides have agreed to continue the dialogue process," the official said.

The Indian side was led by Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt while Pakistani side was headed by Kamran Rasool.

The Indian army, which has occupied most of the high-altitude battlefield since 1987, wants "iron-clad" evidence of existing troop positions to dissuade Pakistan from moving its soldiers forward in the event of a pull-out.

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India and is claimed by both in full. It has caused two of the three wars between the neighbours since their independence in 1947 from Britain.

Analysts say the value of Siachen itself is mostly symbolic rather than strategic.

Indian premier Singh on Thursday called a meeting of his security cabinet to chalk out a framework for the Siachen talks. He was later quoted as saying he was "hopeful" of a positive outcome.

Experts say India has around 5,000 troops on the glacier while Pakistan has less than half the number on the frigid wasteland where temperatures plummet to minus 50 degrees Celsius (minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit).