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Pakistan's defence secretary in India for Siachen talks

May 28, 2011 23:27 IST

Pakistan's Defence Secretary Lieutenant General (Retired) Syed Ather Ali arrived in New Delhi on Saturday for the 12th round of defence secretary-level talks on the long- pending Siachen issue, which is being resumed after a gap of three years on Monday.

"Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar will lead the Indian delegation during the two-day talks. India and Pakistan decided to resume the talks last year after both prime ministers met in Thimpu," defence ministry officials said.

While the Pakistani delegation has two civilian officials and four military officers, the Indian side includes Special Secretary R K Mathur, Director General of Military Operations Lieutanent General A M Verma and Surveyor General S Subha Rao, the officials said.

Siachen, the world's highest militarised zone, has been a long pending issue between India and Pakistan over differences on the location of the 110-km long Actual Ground Position Line which passes through the Soltoro Ridge and Siachen glacier.

"The AGPL is not clearly marked beyond the grid reference point of NJ-9842. The two countries have decided to de-militarise the Siachen glacier, but the matter is stuck as there are apprehensions on both sides," officials said.

India wants Pakistan to authenticate the AGPL, both on the maps and the ground, as it occupies most of the dominating posts on the Saltoro Ridge, officials said.

Pakistan, in turn, has been insisting on maintaining the pre-1972 troop positions as agreed in the Simla Agreement.

Retaliating to the Pakistan Army's advances in the glacier in 1984, India launched Operation Meghdoot and deployed its troops in most of the dominating features in the area.

The defence secretary-level talks between the two countries on Siachen dates back to 1985. The decision to hold joint talks was taken by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Pakistan president General Zia-ul-Haq.

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