Little to gain from Siachen, daily to Pakistan and India


Islamabad : There is little to gain by hanging on to miles of high-altitude ice in Siachen, said a Pakistani daily that wanted Islamabad and New Delhi to resolve the row.

An editorial in the News International Thursday said the battle for Siachen is “fought more with the geography and the elements than it is between the forces of India and Pakistan; and the geography and the elements win more often than not”.

“In purely military terms neither side can ‘win’ on Siachen,” it said.

The daily said the dispute dates back to 1984 when India occupied high ground in the Saltoro range.

“We failed to dislodge them and both sides have doggedly stuck to their positions ever since – as one commentator drily observed recently it is like two bald men fighting over a comb,” it said.

“There have been 12 rounds of talks since 1985, the most recent in May 2011, and agreement has been close at least once but it was not to be.

“The Kargil episode did not help matters either and wrangles over the details of any agreement that would see disengagement constantly bedevil negotiations,” it said.

The editorial observed that “a gradual defrosting of relations between us may edge Siachen up the ‘to-do’ list with a better chance of resolution than previously”.

“There is little to gain by hanging on to miles of high-altitude ice, but a great deal to be gained by honourably disengaging so that there never has to be another event such as that at Gayari, now a frigid graveyard,” it noted.

An avalanche in Siachen smothered 139 Pakistani troops April 7.