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Talks on Siachen inconclusive
K J M Varma in Islamabad
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April 07, 2007 20:33 IST

Belying expectations, the talks on Saturday on demilitarisation of Siachen glacier failed to make headway with Pakistan turning down Indian demand for authentication of the troop positions held by both sides before any withdrawal of forces begins.

"Pakistan has not agreed on authentication, which was the basis for any plans to withdraw troops by both sides. The Actual Ground Position Line has to be authenticated," an Indian official who attended the talks said at the end of the two-day parleys between the defence secretaries of the two countries.

He said authentication of the 110-km-long AGPL was a 'prerequisite' for withdrawal and the rest will follow.

"In the end there was not enough meeting ground to sign anything but both sides held discussions on options and tried to understand each other's positions," he said.

A brief joint statement issued at the end of the talks while reaffirming the support for the ceasefire, which has been in existence since November 2003, said the defence secretaries have agreed 'to continue the discussions to resolve the Siachen dispute in a peaceful manner'.

'The discussions were held in a candid and constructive atmosphere. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to the November 2003 ceasefire between the two countries which is holding successfully', the statement said.

The talks were held between Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt and his Pakistani counterpart Kamran Rasool at Pakistani Army headquarters in Rawalpindi, where both sides apparently stuck to their basic positions.

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