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India lost 26 soldiers in Siachen in one year

Delhi,Defence/Security,Indo-Pak/Pakistan, Mon, 30 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) India lost 26 of its soldiers manning the world's highest battlefield in Siachen glacier in the last one year, parliament was informed Monday.


'The number of casualties in Siachen in the last one year is 26,' Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Lok Sabha in written reply.



He also informed that 12 rounds of defence secretary level talks have been held between India and Pakistan till now and the last meeting was held in May 2011.



During that meeting, the two sides welcomed the ongoing dialogue process, contributing to an enhanced understanding of each other's position.



'It was also agreed to continue the discussions in a meaningful and result-oriented manner,' he added.



India had pre-empted a Pakistani move in April 1984 to occupy the icy heights of Siachen Glacier ranging from 16,000 to 22,000 feet, where temperatures dip to minus 50 degree Celsius in winter, by sending in troops under Operation Meghdoot.



Siachen is a 70-km long glacier between the Saltoro Ridge line to the west and the main Karakoram range to the east in the northern-most tip of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.



India and Pakistan have cumulatively deployed nearly 10,000 troops along the 110-km-long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) on the Siachen Glacier. India wants Pakistan to authenticate the AGPL before any talks on demilitarisation can begin.



The dispute has reportedly cost both India and Pakistan over $10 billion in cumulative budgetary allocations and over 2,300 casualties, mostly due to the inhospitable weather.



Talks on the dispute began in 1985 after discussions between then Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and then Pakistani president Gen. Zia-ul-Haq.


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