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Indo-Pak talks on Siachen underway

Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt said both countries are headed for a resolution of the vexed issue.

world Updated: Apr 06, 2007 11:54 IST
KJM Varma

Defence Secretaries of India and Pakistan on Friday began talks in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on demilitarising the Siachen glacier.

Ahead of Friday's talks, Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt said both countries are headed for a resolution of the vexed issue.

"I am sure we are heading for a resolution," he said on his arrival on Thursday for talks with his Pakistani counterpart Kamran Rasool.

Asked whether the two sides are considering any new proposals, he said "I am sure we will come across some of the new initiatives and make progress".

Dutt, heading a nine-member delegation, said he has come with an open mind to discuss the ideas put forward by both sides and he was optimistic about making progress.

The two-day talks are taking place amid optimism generated by reports that Pakistan has conveyed its willingness to meet the Indian demand to authenticate troops positions on the glacier.

Islamabad has reportedly expressed readiness to meet India's demand to authenticate troops positions on Siachen provided New Delhi agrees not to use it to make a legal claim over the glacier in the future.

In the set of proposals made to India in November last year, Pakistan has offered the "package deal".

The Siachen issue also figured in talks Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Shaukat Aziz held on the sidelines of just concluded SAARC summit in New Delhi.

The talks being held under the fourth round of Composite Dialogue process will continue till Saturday after which both sides are expected to issue a joint statement.