ISLAMABAD: Indian interlocutors have shown willingness to discuss the demilitarisation of Siachen glacier and the resolution of the Sir Creek border dispute if “reasonable” progress is made in prosecuting Pakistani suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks, according to a media report today.
The developments apparently occurred during a three-day Track-II diplomacy meeting between Indian and Pakistani interlocutors held in Dubai during December 3-6.
Noted international experts too attended the meeting, The News daily reported today.
Indian participants acknowledged that the presence of troops on the Siachen glacier played a key role in its melting, which is affected the agrarian economy of Pakistan, the report claimed.
Experts of both countries will send to their governments their recommendations on demilitarising the glacier and for joint watershed management in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to revive the degraded environment, the report said. He proposed joint watershed management is aimed at ensuring a sustainable flow in rivers, including the Jhelum and Chenab.
The recommendations of the experts will facilitate the start of an “official dialogue to develop a framework for the implementation of the proposed measures,” the report said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary, Mr Ashok Jaitley and the security analysts, Mr Ashok Mehta and Mr Gurmeet Kanwal represented India at the talks. While Gen (retired) Hamid Khan, Ayesha Siddiqa, Lt Gen (retired) Moinuddin Haider, the former foreign secretary, Mr Tanvir Ahmad Khan and journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai represented Pakistan.
The SAARC Secretary, Mr Muhammad Iqbal Tabish also participated in the talks. During the meeting, Pakistani experts succeeded in highlighting the melting of the Siachen glacier and reportedly got the Indian team to acknowledge that the cause of the melting was the presence of the Indian troops on the glacier since 1984.
Both sides agreed that an environmental impact assessment for all trans-boundary hydropower development projects should be carried out.
This should be conducted before physical execution of projects. Gen Hamid Khan claimed that the Indian side had agreed to the demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier and resolution of the Sir Creek issue but linked it to progress in the trial of Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks.
A joint statement reportedly issued after the Dubai dialogue said: “It is a matter of immense satisfaction that Indian water experts, intelligentsia and international community have acknowledged and endorsed the following steps of cooperation between the two nations under the domain of Real Time Water Monitoring Quality and Quantity.”