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No demilitarisation of Siachen glacier: India
Sameer C Mohindru in Siachen |
December 25, 2003 21:07 IST
India on Thursday ruled out demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier unless differences with Pakistan were resolved.
"As long as there is a controversy, there can be no demilitarisation here," Defence Minister George Fernandes, who is on his 38th trip to the Siachen glacier, said.
After interacting with the troops on the Christmas day, he said, "As and when India and Pakistan are able to resolve their differences and learn to live as friends, I see no problem in development along the glacier."
He said onus of this friendship was on Pakistan as India had been facing its onslaught since 1947 despite having extended a hand of friendship umpteen times.
Fernandes, however, expressed optimism over the likely outcome of the upcoming SAARC summit in Islamabad. "From all the indications we have had so far, it should be a successful summit," he said.
The defence minister said he was hopeful because of the way things moved after the ceasefire was announced and enforced.
"There is a reason to feel that things can take the right turn," he said.
The defence minister said there could be certain compulsions, which would enable our neighbour to take decisions to take the present situation forward.
Asked about these compulsions, he said, "They are better not discussed."
After the ceasefire was announced last month Fernandes said to some extent the infiltration has been reduced.
However, the jawans still deployed at the border are doing the same job to checkmate the infiltrators and displace them in case they cross the Line of Control.
He said the significance of Siachen glacier lay in the fact that it is a part of Indian territory. "We do not need any other reason to hold onto it," he said.