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India, Pakistan to resume Siachen talks Monday

Sunday May 29, 2011 09:26:12 PM, IANS

New Delhi: India is expected to press Pakistan to authenticate the 110-km actual ground position line (AGPL) along the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro ridge in Jammu and Kashmir when their defence secretaries meet here for two days beginning Monday.

The talks on the world's highest battlefield between Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and his Pakistani counterpart, Lt.Gen. (retd.) Syed Athar Ali, are being held after a gap of four years and are part of the two nations' larger effort to resolve outstanding issues between them, a defence ministry official said here Sunday.

The two countries have decided to resume their dialogue, which was put on hold after the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack, following meetings between their prime ministers in Thimpu in April 2010.

The foreign secretaries and home secretaries of the neighbours have met since February this year and now it is the turn of the defence secretaries.

The Indian delegation for the talks, the 12th in the series, will also include Special Secretary R.K. Mathur, Director-General Military Operations Lt. Gen. A.M. Verma and the Surveyor General, S. Subba Rao.

The other members of the Pakistani delegation are Maj.Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmed, Maj.Gen. Munwar Ahmed Solehri and Maj.Gen. (retired) Mir Haider Ali Khan.

This is the second time in a month that service personnel from Pakistan will engage with interlocutors from India. The Pakistani delegation for the Sir Creek talks also included service personnel from the navy.

The defence secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan on Siachen began in 1985 following discussions between then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and then Pakistani president Gen. Zia-ul-Haq in Oman and New Delhi.

The talks became a part of the composite dialogue with Pakistan on all issues, including Kashmir, from the eighth round in August 2004 in New Delhi.

Siachen, which became a bone of contention between India and Pakistan in 1984, was visited by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June 2005 and since then, he has been keen to convert the glacial heights into "a mountain of peace".






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