India, Pak ‘likely to pull out troops’ from Siachen

Islamabad, September 17:

The much-awaited accord between Pakistan and India on troops withdrawal from Siachen glacier is on the cards as the two neighbours have agreed in principle on demilitarisation of the world’s highest battlefield, The Nation reported today. Islamabad and New Delhi have broadly agreed to demilitarise the Siachen glacier after having discussed in detail the vital issue through “informal” diplomatic channels during the past two months, diplomatic sources were quoted as saying here. They said that earlier the two sides could not settle this vital issue on composite dialogue agenda because of India’s insistence on authentication of troops’ present positions. However, after several rounds of so-called secret diplomacy, the two countries had been able to overcome their differences on demilitarisation to a great extent, they added.

In the coming days, discussion both at formal and informal level would be on to formalise an agreement on troops withdrawal from the glacier, they said, adding that the accord could be announced during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan, likely to take place in October. A source here said that Singh was keen to convert the world’s highest battlefield into a “mountain of peace” and he had been able to overcome the stern opposition in this regard by the Indian military establishment, which was against the move.