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India, Pakistan Defence Secretary-level talks by April-end

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Apr 5, IRNA -- India and Pakistan are likely to resume Defence Secretary-level talks by month-end where they will discuss several issues including demilitarization of the world's highest battlefield - Siachen Glacier, and Sir Creek.

'The talks between the two Defence Secretaries are likely to begin by the end of this month where they will look to resolve the Siachen and the Sir Creek issues,' pti reported quoting a senior Defence Ministry official as said here.

The dialogue on Siachen and Sir Creek issues would be resumed after four years, though both sides have maintained a ceasefire since November 2003.

The bone of contention in the negotiations between the two sides, however, has been the 'delineation' of the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) beyond the NJ-9842 reference point, where the Line of Control simply stopped in the 1972 Shimla Pact, up to the Karakoram Pass.

India has been pressing for authenticating the AGPL, both on the maps and the ground, as its troops occupy most of the dominating posts on the Saltoro Ridge, before there is troop disengagement, withdrawal and the final demilitarisation of the glacier.

Indian Army said demand for such an arrangement would be made to delineate the AGPL before any agreement for withdrawal of troops is reached between the two countries.

Both India and Pakistan maintain a Brigade-level presence across the 6,300-metre glacier where weather conditions and the icy terrain claim more lives than bullets.

The Sir Creek dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch in India and Sindh in Pakistan.

Talks between the Home Secretaries of the two countries were held last week in Delhi and their Commerce Secretaries are meeting on April 29.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30323771

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