Indian army wants guarantees on Siachen
Daily Times Monitor
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army will not withdraw from Siachen until Pakistan gives a written guarantee that it will not reoccupy the glacier and is prepared to recognise the line where the troops are holding positions, Deccan Chronicle reported on Thursday.
“We have heard Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf give this assurance on Siachen not once but several times before, it is nothing new, but our position too is clear, it will be extremely foolish to pull back without written guarantees,” the newspaper quoted sources as saying. “The Indian Army has always acted in the national interest, and irrespective of the price we have to pay we will not let go (of the glacier),” sources told the newspaper.
Sources pointing out that “it is comparatively easy to defend and extremely difficult to re-conquer territory in that difficult terrain” said that the government must realise this before reaching any political decision based on verbal assurances. “ There is apprehension in the Indian army, generated by media reports and the absence of clarifications from the top, that a deal on Siachen might be worked out between the two governments in the next round of the composite dialogue, the paper said.
Several suggestions have been tossed around in the long negotiations between India and Pakistan on Siachen but the issue always got stuck in Pakistan’s refusal to recognise the line held by the troops at this moment, and its unwillingness to reach a written agreement on the larger aspects of the withdrawal, the newspaper quoted sources as saying.
Pre-1971 position: For instance the Indian Army is keen that withdrawal of troops is also backed by an agreement that both sides will place their soldiers at a point where it takes the same number of hours or days to reach the glacier, if required.