Pak formally proposed Siachen pullback, says Antony - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 7 May 2012

Pak formally proposed Siachen pullback, says Antony

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 8th May 12

Pakistani president, Asif Zardari, had formally appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a mutual withdrawal of troops from the Siachen Glacier sector. Defence Minister, AK Antony says the request was made on April 8 in New Delhi, a day after an avalanche buried 129 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians at Gyari, the headquarters of a Pakistani battalion near Skardu in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

While several Pakistani decision-makers, including the army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chief, Nawaz Sharif, have issued media calls for a mutual withdrawal, only now has it emerged that Pakistan officially broached this proposal with New Delhi.

On Monday, Antony told the Lok Sabha, “In view of the recent avalanche resulting in heavy casualties at Siachen, Pakistan has requested India for withdrawal of their respective troops from the region.”

In his written reply to a parliamentary question, Antony further stated “The President of Pakistan, during his meeting with Prime Minister on April 8, 2012, pointed out the need for all issues in the bilateral relationship including Sir Creek, Siachen, and Jammu & Kashmir to be addressed. Both leaders felt need to move forward step by step and find pragmatic and mutually acceptable solutions to all those issues.”

A range of Pakistani leaders have supported General Kayani and Nawaz Sharif in calling for a mutual withdrawal from “the Siachen Glacier.” For the Pakistan Army --- say Indian experts like Lt Gen PC Katoch, former commander of the Siachen Brigade --- an early withdrawal would mask the stinging defeat they suffered here after the Indian Army established itself atop the towering Saltoro Ridge that gives India complete domination over the Siachen Glacier.

“The Pakistan Army has been badly beaten on the Siachen Glacier, but they hide that from their public. Kayani, like his predecessors, wants to demilitarise the glacier and end the dispute quickly so that the Pakistani people never get to know,” says Katoch.

Meanwhile the Siachen dialogue makes little headway. Through 12 rounds of talks, the most recent last May, New Delhi has insisted that it will pull back troops only after joint “authentication” of the frontline along the 109-kilometre Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), as the de facto border is called. The AGPL has never been marked on the ground or on any document accepted by both sides. If Pakistan violated a demilitarisation treaty, says the Indian Army, it would enjoy easier geographical access to Siachen, leaving India at a serious disadvantage.

Pakistan resists “authentication” as a pre-requisite to demilitarisation, ostensibly because that would legitimise the AGPL, and India’s alleged “violation of the Simla Agreement” which restrains both sides from altering the status quo on the border. Pakistan wants demilitarisation, withdrawal and authentication to proceed simultaneously. Last month, after General Kayani’s call for a mutual withdrawal, Islamabad announced that it would stick to its traditional position.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, however, has earlier been willing to accommodate Pakistan in a Siachen settlement. In 2005, during a visit to Siachen, he stated that he would like to convert Siachen into “a mountain of peace.”

The Siachen became a military flashpoint in April 1984, when the Indian Army occupied Bilafond La, a pass above Siachen, narrowly beating a planned Pakistani occupation of the same pass. Although there has been a ceasefire in place since 2003, most casualties in the 16,000-21,000 foot battleground take place due to weather.


  1. They are most welcome to withdraw if they like.
    BUT we must stay.
    In no way can we trust Pakistan.
    What if a new set of generals come in or a mad mullah who reneges the settlement.
    Till the the Pakistan is an extremist,unstable terror sponsoring neighbor, we should not even think about these things,let alone giving them serious thought.

  2. Parvez Khokhar8 May 2012 at 02:59

    Since Pakistan wants to stick to its traditional stand of not permitting demarcation of the present position of troops from both sides,what is new about it's latest proposal? This was unacceptable to India two decades ago and nothing has changed since. The latest proposal by their Army Chief, is merely self-serving and smacks of a total incomprehension of reality. I am no hawk, but the price that the Indian Army has paid to be where they are, cannot be demanded again, by a nation steeped in ignorance and sentimentality.

  3. What else do you expect from MMS

  4. China will occupy the region the moment India withdraws. Why Pakistan alone should not withdraw?

  5. @Ajai sir

    it will be a real harakiri by India if areas won in Siachen battle field north of NJ 9842 after 1984 are returned to Pakistan or demilitarized for some political brawnie points.

    But one thing is for sure a quick settlement is needed as maintaining '000 of troops on the icy heights is not only cost prohibitive but also imperils soldiers life.

    Also whatever the proposal we must remember Pakistan is at a huge advantage operating out of Dansum, an area which India should have gained control long back in 1984 itself. Staging its troops from this area Pakistan can easily walk back to the claimed areas in Siachen with ease whereas India will have to work hard tooth & nail to regain those positions.

    India has had to spend huge money to maintain troops at much higher Saltoro ridgeline to keep eye on movements out of Dansum.

    If Pakistan really wants to demilitarize/withdraw troops, then it should do it from the entire Skardu valley, the hub for Siachen ops and Kargil ops as well as Haji Pir Pass, the staging point for miltants.

    India cant afford to allow Pakistan to maintain troops in these 2 areas other there is a big chance that Pakistan will try for multiple Kargil type ops once the dust/euphoria settles down


    Joydeep Ghosh

  6. Demilitarize Siachen by taking hold of Northern Areas.

  7. china... b'desh... India... US SoS... does the visit... signify any... connection to... current hotness... in siachin topic...

  8. Can anyone believe upon Pakistan except the China.

    Everybody makes the fun of fools. By giving away Siachen, we are going to make ourselves stand in the front rank of the fools.

    If it has any problems, why can not Pakistan take the unilateral step of withdrawal of its own forces from the vicinity of Siachen.

    The trends indicate that it must be their plan that China captures Siachen once India withdraws from there. Then after things may become too much complex and almost irreversible.

  9. @8 May 2012 15:29 - Parvez Khokhar... well paki armed forces... is not able to... stand upto the daily demands... now???...

  10. Just like Kargil mutual consent withdraw then we occupy and handover to China no thanks

  11. How many more Indian soldiers lives will it take to dispel the myth of the Pakistan that will be honest or China that will be a good neighbour.
    I for one with less family members now because of the Chinese and Pakistanis am not willing to give any more. Enough is enough. The men and women of my forces are not pawns that Congress or any government can play with impunity.

  12. Is Pakistan going to evict China from Gilgit? Is Pakistan going to wrap up it's creche for "non-state" bastards? What is wrong with the Indian PM?

  13. Sir do you believe the Indian Intelligence had any role in the Maldives coup?

  14. Not convinced by the hypernationalist panting. Can someone please explain:

    (1) What big strategic advantage lies from Pakistan and/or China seizing Siachen after we withdraw, and

    (2) Why we would need to take the heights back if that happened; we can always retaliate elsewhere.

  15. Kiyani is doing what every clever general does, tactical retreat in the hour of weakness. The avalanche in the Siachen has killed many Pakistani soldiers stationed there and devastated their main base. To prevent India from taking advantage of this situation, Kiyani has managed to create a new Aman ki Tamasha by offering this withdrawl. It is a given that Dharmic nation like Bharat will not attack when the enemy is down and allow her enemies to go scott free. With the great half-pakistani Manmohan at the helm of affairs we can only expect to give away J&K to the Jihadis to our west. Long live Jaichands and Mir Jaffars of India.

  16. China, China, China is what is written all over this. Yeah right pak wants to withdraw becoz they lost 129 men to weather. The same thing that has been killing more every year. Has anyone really verified this 129 death claim. sure they showed pics. They ceded northern part of Siachin, Aksaichin to China. Now they have more or less given occupied Kashmir to china which is to the west and south. Then that nincompoop Def Min says, but but.. honest, this time pakis promised mountain of peace. What we need is two double large orders of Putin and one order of Thacher.


  18. Solution on hand:
    Demilitarize Pakistan - that is the only solution. Of course, that means exterminating the vermin that form the PA, and the terrorist organizations.

  19. Manmohan Singh would do well not to emulate the dumb guy from third front, I. K. Gujral.

    With the Chinese in PoK the situation has changed forever. Siachin should not be given up. We will hate it even more giving up precious lives for getting it back once the Chipak combine decides to find a way to get out of the arrangement.

    Pakistan is in shi_hole because of its own blindness. We didnt send them there we dont have to take them out of there.

    In fact to the contrary this should make it clear to people in India that Pakis propose ceasefire only when in deep trouble. Ergo...

  20. What is all this BS talk of making a piss mountain out of Siachen. We have won the ridges by the BLOOD and Sweat of our jawans and officers. Agreed it's not the most hospitable place on earth but the Indian Army knows how to do it's job unlike the babus sitting in north and south blocks in ac offices and casually talking of gifting out our sovereignty.

    Mickey Mouse Singh and his coterie seeking personal glory and a Nobel Piss Prize have NO RIGHT to even talk of gifting Siachen away !

    His (hate and shameful to say he is our PM) blood may be thinner than water to have have conveniently forgotten Lt. Saurabh Kaalia's and other's supreme sacrifice in the Kargil heights who were butchered in those cold mountains by Musharraf and Kayani's men but we have not ! Seems only like yesterday ! Are we a nation of ingrates to have forgotten an episode like that ? !

    Let this not be ignored !

  21. Anon @ 9 May 2012 11:21:
    Siachen is like a thorn that continuously pricks both Pakistan & China. Once we vacate Kayani's NLI will virtually walk in and then what will you do do another Kargil type offensive defence ?
    And retaliate where like you suggest ?
    When kargil happened where else did we retaliate ? Because of LOC restrictions and our forces fighting with one hand tied we suffered so many casualties.
    I'm all for vacating Siachen forever, lets surface test out our 200 kt FBF Agni-5 payload there and convert into a vast Chernobyl like wasteland forever and then Kayani & MMS can make it into a Aman ka Tamaasha piss park for all they want . If it's not ours it should not be there's either.

    But, till our jawans are there guarding our frontier forget it ! Not one inch we should concede to those barbarians !
    like someone's car famously said:
    Give Peace a chance;
    Destroy Pakistan permanently & forever !
    But oh wait ! Give them some time, because they will destroy themselves & do us a huge favor

  22. Let us hope India will not make another mistake like Shimla Agreement. India must increase its military presence in the area. Move further in the direction of north and west and push Pakistani army further back.
    India needs to establish adventure sports centres and mountain trekking centres in the area. This will improve the defense. We must remember that ultimately India has to face aggression from China in future. Let us prepare for that day.

  23. Nice. If the Indian Govt. is even considering the proposal without rolling on the floor laughing, then it would be truly shocking. Unless of course the Siachen area is so irrelevant to our security that it doesnt matter who holds it.

    If it is completely irrelevant, then maybe the nation needs to be told why so much blood went into controlling it and defending it?

    But relevant irrelevant aside, one thing is for sure, within days of withdrawal, we will see "mountaineers" and "tourists" on the glacier and ridges, and before you know it, "Kashmiri Freedom Fighters" would be occupying the heights sustained by nothing more than their beliefs and the blessings of their mothers.

    Naturally this being a demilitarized zone, the Pak military would be unable to evict the "Kashmiri Freedom Fighters" without the consent of India and a UN Security Council resolution and twenty other diplomatic hoops to jump through.

    Maybe we need another "Not even a blade of grass grows there" statement from the Govt. and the whole country can start singing Aman Ki Asha and maybe even Hindi Paki Bhai Bhai.

    Sorry about the sarcastic tone, but then the issue itself is so ridiculous.

  24. The question is:

    If Pakistan was occupying Saltoro in place of India, would they vacate at Indian request?

    The answer is clear !!


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