IssueNet Edition| Date : 21 Dec , 2012
At what is commonly referred to as Siachen, India hold the dominating high ground on Saltoro Ridge. To the west of this is Gilgit and Baltistan, which is proposed to be leased by Pakistan to China, to the north Sakshgam valley already ceded to China by Pakistan and to its south east, Aksai Chin already occupied by China. Legally, this area is part of the Indian Union although some in illegal occupation of Pakistan and China. Parliament’s unanimous Resolution of 22 February 1994 states that ‘Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir which they have occupied through aggression’.
India holds high ground, which in the event of being occupied by Pakistan or China post any demilitarization, will be almost impossible to recapture.
Strategically, India’s present position prevents any possibility of a Pakistan China link up in the area whilst tactically India holds high ground, which in the event of being occupied by Pakistan or China post any demilitarization, will be almost impossible to recapture. Visiting the Base camp in Siachen on 13 June 2005, the Prime Minister told the troops that Siachen would be converted from a point of conflict to a zone of peace.
The last round of Indo-Pakistan Defence Secretary level talks on resolution of the Siachen dispute held on 12 Jun 12 ended with both sides reiterating their known positions. But even as these talks were being held both sides were acutely conscious that a series of Track II talks had been going for nearly a year between groups of both sides. That neither the Indian government nor the media shared this with the public perhaps tells its own story.