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'Army Chief's Siachen remarks unprecedented'

Sinha said decision by the Army Chief to speak publicly on the issue was extraordinary and unprecedented.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 22:18 IST

Former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha on Friday termed as "extraordinary and unprecedented" the reported public remarks by Army Chief Gen JJ Singh expressing opposition to disengagement in Siachen before Pakistan authenticated positions held by forces of the two countries.

Referring to Singh's comments made before the Defence Secretary-level talks on the Siachen issue on May 23-24, Sinha said the decision by the Army Chief to speak publicly on the issue was "extraordinary and unprecedented."

"But I am not aware of what went on, whether government gave effect to the consultative process for creating a situation like (this). Therefore I cannot comment with any authority on this," Sinha, touring Pakistan to address its lawmakers on budgetary procedures, told a meeting of South Asia Free Media Association.

"Obviously there was a situation which led to the this extraordinary development," he said adding this was the first time the Army Chief had spoken publicly on Siachen.

Besides the army, several Indian political parties including BJP and defence analysts too opposed unilateral withdrawal from Siachen without proper acknowledgement by Pakistan about the positions held by Indian troops, he said.

Sinha, however, said politically there is a tradition of developing consensus on foreign policy and security issues between the government, opposition parties and various official institutions.

On Kashmir issue, he said the January, 2004 agreement between former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf had clearly stated that it should be resolved only bilaterally. It provided no scope for any third power or someone else a seat at the table, he added.

First Published: Jun 09, 2006 22:18 IST