Siachen heat on UPA
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Siachen heat on UPA

The armed forces said the government had assured it that national security concerns will be safeguarded in any settlement, report Sutirtho Patranobis and Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2006 05:29 IST

A day after Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said a breakthrough on the Siachen issue was in sight, the armed forces on Monday said the government had assured it that national security concerns will be safeguarded in any settlement.

“They (the government) have kept us assured that national security concerns will be safeguarded,” Army Chief General JJ Singh told reporters. The new incoming chairman of the Chiefs of Staff committee Air Chief Marshall SP Tyagi said, “All our views on the Siachen issue have been presented to the government.”

The BJP, too, reacted to Kasuri’s comments with party president Rajnath Singh — who has taken a hawkish line on India-Pakistan talks — asking the government to explain the Pakistani minister’s claim. Rajnath said in a statement that the Opposition and Parliament should be enlightened as to what Kasuri was claiming and his reference to India showing the “political will” to achieve it.

“Siachen is the crux of Jammu and Kashmir’s strategic security perceptions and any yielding on it will be of disastrous consequences to the integration of the state and its defence formations, who are today in an advantageous position after great sacrifices,” he said.

Rajnath reminded the government that the party will not let anyone barter with that, come what may. “What is the back-channel diplomacy the government is pursuing through non-papers submitted in Havana? The country wants to know the details.”

Rajnath said he wanted the government to realize that “the core issue is the dismantling of 59 terrorist training camps and a full stop to terrorism operated from Pakistani territory to the resolution of all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan”.

The BJP chief said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf must first be asked to fulfill his written commitment to A.B. Vajpayee in January 2004, not to permit the use of Pakistani territory for launching terror attacks against India before any meaningful dialogue. “Till then, all talks should be kept on hold, including the proposed foreign secretaries’ meetings in November.”


First Published: Oct 31, 2006 05:29 IST