India, Pakistan need more time to resolve Siachen dispute: Antony

June 3rd, 2011 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) With India and Pakistan agreeing to continue their talks on the Siachen Glacier, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Friday said both countries needed more time to debate issues concerning the world’s highest battlefield.

Antony told reporters here that the talks between the neighbours were “free and frank” and the atmosphere at the meeting was “cordial”

“But they were not able to come to a conclusion or agreement. So ultimately, they decided they needed more time…both sides. So India and Pakistan will meet again at a mutually convenient time and the next round will be in Islamabad,” he said.

At a meeting May 30-31 between the defence secretaries of the two countries, it was decided that they would meet again for the 13th round of talks on Siachen Glacier at a mutually convenient date in Islamabad.

At the 12th round of talks, the two sides reiterated their respective positions on the 70-km-long glacier dispute lingering over 27 years now since 1984.

Pakistan also gave a “non-paper” to India explaining their suggestions and proposals for the peaceful resolution of the conflict along the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) on the Saltoro Ridge.

“It is a very complicated issue. Both sides need more time to study this,” Antony added.

India and Pakistan are estimated to have spent over $10 billion in cumulative budgetary allocations for fighting the battle at altitudes ranging from 16,000 to 20,000 feet, where they have lost nearly 2,300 troops, mostly due to inhospitable weather with temperatures dipping to minus 50 degree Celsius in winter.

A truce has been holding on the glacier since November 2003.

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