Fernandes rules out Siachen demilitarisation
NEW DELHI: Hoping that the upcoming SAARC summit would lead to better relations in the region, India on Thursday ruled out the demilitarisation of Siachen glacier unless differences with Pakistan were resolved.
“As long as there is a controversy, there can be no demilitarisation,” Defence Minister George Fernandes said on a trip to Siachen. The Indian defence minister said, “As and when India and Pakistan are able to resolve their differences and learn to live as friends, I see no problem in development along the glacier”.
Fernandes expressed optimism over the outcome of the upcoming SAARC summit in Islamabad. “From all the indications we have had so far, it should be a successful summit,” he said.
The defence minister said he was hopeful because of the way things moved after the Line of Control ceasefire was announced and enforced. “There is a reason to feel that things can take the right turn,” he said. He said infiltration declined after the unilateral ceasefire announced by Pakistan last month. —APP