India, Pak ready to resolve Siachen: Mirwaiz
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India, Pak ready to resolve Siachen: Mirwaiz

The Hurriyat leader says a solution could emerge during a visit of Manmohan Singh to Pakistan.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2006 18:50 IST

Pakistan and India were "ready" to resolve the vexed Siachen issue and a solution could emerge during a visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Islamabad, moderate Hurriyat faction leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said.

Farooq, who held talks with Pervez Musharraf in United States last month, said he got this "impression" from what the Pakistan President told him about his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Havana last month.

"My impression is that they are ready to resolve the Siachen dispute," he said, according to a report in Pakistani daily "Dawn" from Washington. Singh had in principle accepted in Havana Musharraf's invitation to visit Pakistan.

Musharraf "believes that the two sides can make headway on Kashmir as well when he meets the Indian Prime Minister," Mirwaiz said.

According to the diplomat, believed to be a Pakistani, the deal on Siachen could be based on one of the three propositions. Either it could be an accord to de-escalate hostilities, an understanding to disengage military forces or an agreement to demilitarise the area.

Pakistan says that an understanding to resolve the Siachen dispute was reached in 1989 at the end of the defence secretary-level talks during the tenure of former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto but it could not be implemented.

An agreement to demilitarise Siachen alluded as Pakistan says it was for unilateral withdrawal of troops but declines to authenticate the positions on the higher reaches of the glacier held by Indian troops.

Ever since the two countries commenced the Composite Dialogue process in 2004, which included Siachen and Sir Creek issues, they have discussed a number of proposals including acknowledgement through satellite mapping of the positions held by both sides but have not succeeded in reaching an agreement so far.

On Sir Creek, a small strip of marshy area in Gulf Kutch in Gujarat coast, which is believed to be having oil and gas deposits, the two sides conducted a joint survey in 2004 and opted to do one more in quest for a solution which could determine the maritime economic zone of the two countries.He felt Singh's visit "will be very crucial". The two sides "have already started working on the visit but I believe they need to do more homework to make the Kashmiris believe that they are moving towards resolving the Kashmir dispute".

He said "while we are happy that India and Pakistan will be able to resolve the Siachen dispute, it does not open doors to settling the Kashmir issue".

First Published: Oct 06, 2006 18:46 IST