Islamabad, June 11 (IBNS): Indian and Pakistani officials are expected to meet on Monday in Rawalpindi to hold the hold the second round of talks on the military standoff on Siachen glacier, dubbed the world’s highest battleground.
Indian Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma arrived in Pakistan for the two-day talks on Sunday while the Pakistani side is set to be led by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi.
The last round of talks on Siachen was held in New Delhi by the Defence Secretaries of the two countries in May last year.
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just east of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan and sees permanent military presence in the region at a height of over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft).
India's successful Operation Meghdoot in 1984 led to controlling the Siachen Glacier from Pakistan and forced the Pakistanis to retreat west of the Saltoro Ridge. Pakistan controls the glacial valleys immediately west of the Saltoro Ridge.
Pakistan wants India to revert to the pre-1972 troop positions as agreed in the Simla Agreement, while India wants it to accept the 110-km-long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), which passes through the Soltoro Ridge and Siachen Glacier.
The two countries, who have fought three wars since independence, were close to a solution on Siachen as well as the maritime boundary at the Sir Creek estuary in 2008 before India called off the talks demanding quantifiable action against the 26/11 accused who continue to roam free in Pakistan.
With talks resuming last year, there is hope that it could pave the way towards the dispute over Kashmir, which is at their heart of the over-six-decade hostility and help mitigate the deep mistrust that roils the ties between the two neighbours.
Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Kayani in April called for the demilitarisation of the Siachen Glacier, following a tour of the site of an avalanche that buried 129 Pakistani soldiers in April near the border with India.
However, ahead of the talks, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony cautioned against expecting any instantaneous breakthrough.
"Do not expect any dramatic announcement or decision on an issue which is very important for us, especially in the context of national security. You cannot expect a dramatic announcement from one discussion,” he was quoted as saying.