Delhi backs meaningful talks on Siachen demilitarisation

NEW DELHI - India and Pakistan have agreed to hold meaningful and result-oriented discussion to demilitarise Siachen glacier region where 26 Indian soldiers died during deployment last year, government told the Lok Sabha Monday. According to Press Trust of India, in a written reply Defence Minister AK Antony stated: “The number of casualties in Siachen in last one year is 26.” On diplomatic measures for demilitarisation of Siachen glacier region, he said: “12th round of Defence Secretary-level talks were held between India and Pakistan on May 30-31, 2011... It was agreed to continue the discussions in a meaningful and result-oriented manner.” Both sides welcomed the ongoing dialogue process which is contributing to an enhanced understanding of each other’s position, Antony said. He said the Defence Ministry has received reports about a military exercise by China involving live firing of heavy and specialised equipment. He said: “Reports regarding conduct of exercise by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been received. These exercises involved employment and live firing of heavy and specialised equipment like armoured vehicles, artillery pieces, fighter aircraft etc.” The minister denied that any protest was lodged with China for conducting these exercises, saying “these exercises are an internal matter of China.” On security measures taken by India following such exercises, Antony said: “The security situation is reviewed by the government from time to time and necessary action is taken thereon. This is a continuous process.” In reply to another question on activities by Pakistan in border areas, he said: “Border Security Force (BSF) has always raised objection to such construction and lodged strong protests with concerned Pakistan Rangers. There is reportedly no encroachment activity by Pakistan in the Indian Maritime Zone in the Arabian Sea.” Construction activities involving bunkers, towers and outposts are undertaken by any country beyond 150 yards from its international boundary, Antony added. 

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