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India, Pakistan fail to break ice on Siachen

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Last updated on: May 24, 2006 21:19 IST

With Islamabad refusing to agree on authentication of present troop positions on Siachen glacier, talks between India and Pakistan on demilitarisation of the world's highest battlefield -- Siachen -- failed to yield any breakthrough in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The new India-Pakistan battleground

However, concluding the two-day defence secretary-level talks, the two countries issued a joint statement in which they agreed to continue their negotiations to resolve the vexed 22-year-old issue in a peaceful manner. The two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to continue the ceasefire in Siachen in place since November 2003.

"In this round of discussions, we could not make a breakthrough," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

"Pakistani is not agreeing to the proposal for authentication of positions (held by the Indian and Pakistani forces) for quite some time and this is the area of difference which can continue," he said, replying to questions on the outcome of the talks between Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt and his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Tariq Waseem Ghazi on demilitarisation of the Siachen Glacier.

The two countries had agreed in-principle in October last year to re-deploy troops from existing positions.

Wary of repeat of Kargil experience, New Delhi does not want to 'risk' disengagement from dominant heights on the Saltoro Ridge unless there is 'clear acceptance of authentication' by Islamabad. India wants 'iron-clad' guarantees from Pakistan.

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