Typing Test


Whether it is a coincidence or not, while watching the pre-noon live proceedings of our Parliament today (February 26), I saw opposition members asking the government why not it should consider the demilitarisation proposal of Siachen glacier, something that Pakistan has also been in favour. Obviously, our honourable parliamentarians were worried over the recent tragedy that occurred in the glacier where an avalanche hurtled down and swallowed one of our military posts, resulting in unfortunate demise of ten of our brave soldiers. Of course, demilitarisation of Siachen has been one of the proposed confidence building measures (CBM) between India and Pakistan for years. It is said that but for some last minute huddles, late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi would have signed an agreement to this effect with his then Pakistani counterpart Benazir Bhutto in 1989. Another late Prime Minister IK Gujral and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were reportedly in favour of a similar deal with Pakistan. But if they could not do that, it was essentially because of the strong protests from the Indian Army. Of course this time, the Army has a much more sympathetic government led by Narendra Modi. So any withdrawal, as suggested by the opposition parliamentarians, seems highly unlikely. Let it be noted that it is a myth that Pakistani soldiers are present in Siachen glacier as such. The glacier is under total control of the Indian soldiers. Pakistanis are behind the Soltoro Ridge, much below the heights of the glacier. But then Pakistan has been publicly arguing over the last 10 years or so that it would “not occupy the Siachen glacier (the highest and the coldest battle field of the world) if India vacated it. A historical perspective will do well to understand the issue. Nearly 32 years have passed since India and Pakistan engaged in Siachen on what is called the worlds most absurd war. It all started in 1984 when India launched "Operation Meghdoot" to drive away the “Pakistani incursions. At the moment, India is in a commanding position in the glacier, which is a part of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. It may be noted that in Jammu and Kashmir India and Pakistan are separated by the so-called Line of Control (LoC), which clearly runs from Sabha in the South to "point NJ9842" in North. This LoC was demarcated under the 1972 Simla agreement. But disagreements remain over whether the line after the point NJ9842 travels northwards to include the entire Siachen region within India, or whether it travels northwestwards to give Pakistan access to the area. Under the CBM-building talks that began in 2004, India was willing to drawback of forces to the positions prior to the 1972 Shimla Agreement. However, it was insisting on making the present Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), the line that is demarcating the effective controls of both the sides, a permanent border between India and the planned “disengagement zone. On its part, Pakistan is arguing that the borders should be re-drawn as per the Simla Agreement, which it claims India violated by launching its “invasion in 1984. In reality, however, Pakistan is loath to authenticate the AGPL since it would mean admitting it lost the Saltoro ridge and the Quaid Post (named after the founder of Pakistan), now renamed Bana Post by India after Param Vir Chakra winner Subedar Bana Singh who captured it. Pakistan is ready to withdraw troops only if India drops its insistence on the authentication of current positions being held by Pakistani and Indian troops. It is against this background that the importance of what Pakistani Ambassador Shaid Malik had told the media on February 9 2007 assumes great significance. The Pakistani envoy said that while it would not be possible for Pakistani to formally authenticate the AGPL, its alternative suggestion would go a long way in meeting the Indian position. “Since we are talking of gradual withdrawal of armed forces from the region, while chalking out the