Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The highest battlefield on earth, a block of ice at 6000 meters

India and Pakistan resumed on Monday in New Delhi dialogue on border conflict Siachen Glacier, almost three years after it was interrupted after the attacks in Bombay in November 2008. The talks are conducted by Pakistan's Defense Secretary, Syed Ather Ali, and his Indian counterpart, Pradip Kumar, who for two days talking about the so-called highest battlefield on earth, a block of ice more than 6,000 meters altitude where the two nuclear powers and maintain a ceasefire since 2003.

The Siachen glacier is a Himalayan border area between China, India and Pakistan and was about to provoke a large-scale armed conflict in 1984 after an offensive that forced India to back the Pakistani forces. Both countries have since then a strong troop presence in extreme conditions that have been the main cause of the 2,000 casualties suffered by the troops on both sides in the last 25 years.

"The current military tension is expensive to both sides and it seems that from a strategic point of view has no meaning for either," said the teacher and Pakistani defense analyst Humayun Khan. Since 1984, eleven rounds of negotiations took place until the New Delhi talks broke off in retaliation for the attacks in Bombay in November 2008 that left 190 dead and 600 wounded, and that India had always been associated with groups close to Islamabad.

Relations began to soften a few months ago and at the end of March there was a seemingly informal meeting of prime ministers of both countries, Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's Yousuf Raza Gilani, in a game of cricket world cup, which led many observers, the formal resumption of negotiations on Siachen.

Although not expected to give great results, they symbolize a certain approach negotiations in a particularly tense moment in the region after the death of the leader of the terrorist network Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani soil at the hands of the U.S. last command May 2. That incident revived the Indian grievances for the support, according to New Delhi, received from Pakistani official circles perpetrators of the attacks in Bombay.

Singh stressed to the media yesterday that "we must convince Pakistan that the use of terror as an instrument of state policy is not acceptable in the civilized world."

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