Monday, June 6, 2011

India, Pakistan Glacier Talks Yield No Progress

India and Pakistan on May 31 concluded a 12th round of talks over a disputed Himalayan glacier where troops have clashed intermittently since 1984 without reporting any progress.

The estranged South Asian neighbors in a joint statement said talks, which began May 30, "enhanced understanding of each other's position" on the Siachen glacier, the world's highest battlefield.

"Both sides presented their positions and suggestions towards the resolution of Siachen," it said following the two-day talks between Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar with his Pakistani counterpart Syed Athar Ali. It added that they had agreed "to meet again at a mutually-convenient date in Islamabad," without giving any further details.

India in 1984 occupied key areas on Siachen, raising fears of another all-out conflict between the neighbors, and in 1987 the two militaries fought a fierce skirmish on the 6,300-metre (20,800-foot) high frigid mass.

Ties between the nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, have improved over the last year after contacts between prime ministers and other senior government figures.

The meeting in New Delhi was part of the start-stop peace process aimed at bringing lasting stability to South Asia, the May 31 statement said the two countries "welcomed the ongoing dialogue process."

India broke off all contact with Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were staged by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba according to Indian and Western intelligence.

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