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What Is India News Service
Monday, February 19, 2007



 

 

 

   Pak Interested to Close Siachen

  Pakistan Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting acknowledged the futility of fighting in "one of the highest battlefields" where neither side "has gained anything" and indicated willingness to find closure to stalled talks.
     
 

Pakistan Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting acknowledged the futility of fighting in "one of the highest battlefields" where neither side "has gained anything" and indicated willingness to find closure to stalled talks. Intense lobbying from defense, diplomatic, and intelligence communities of either side saw the suspension of talks on Siachen in May 2003.

With increased terrorist activity on its western front, pressure from the west to act against terror groups, and internal sectarian violence, Pakistan is feeling the heat and the stretch on its military resources. Siachen is one battlefield where it has consistently lost and continues to lose heavily on a daily basis in terms of cost, personnel, attention, and resources and has no hope to gain any advantage. Therefore, it is highly motivated to withdraw from this area of conflict.

However, Indian security agencies want assurance that Pakistan will not occupy the high points after India withdraws through a bilateral treaty with international safeguards. Although the costs are high for India, its growing economy is capable of bearing the strain and hence it is in no hurry to jump into an agreement without clear-cut guarantees on Islamabad's withdrawal and assurances of non-occupation of these heights. The Siachen overlooks the Karakoram Highway and is very strategic for India since it links up China with Pakistan sharing an "evergreen" relationship.

While political compulsions may tempt India to sign a deal to show progress in the peace process, practical considerations such as documenting current positions, monitoring ground situation, guarantees to ensure status-quo, and international safeguards need to be incorporated in any deal. Despite a shared history, DNA, and ethnicity, India's experiences with Pakistan is unfortunately littered with broken promises and uncertainties.

 

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