Indian troops on vantage higher ground in Siachen: Pak

Lahore: Conceding that Indian soldiers were sitting at higher ground, Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has said that the military standoff between the two countries on the Siachen glacier cannot be resolved under the current circumstances.

"Under the current circumstances, it is difficult to solve the Siachen issue. India is sitting at a high altitude and it considers that it is in a better position," he said while talking to reporters in the capital of Punjab province.

Pakistan cannot withdraw from Siachen unilaterally, he said yesterday. "If we pull out, the families of martyrs will raise questions," he said.

An avalanche hit a high-altitude Pakistan Army camp in the Siachen sector on April 7, burying 139 people under dozens of feet of snow. Search teams are yet to find any trace of the buried men. There have been calls from mainstream political parties to find a solution to the Siachen issue in the wake of the avalanche.

During recent visits to the site of the disaster, Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said all issues between the two countries, including Siachen, should be resolved to ensure "peaceful co-existence" which would allow them to focus on development.

However, Kayani also contended that India had hardened its position on the Siachen issue, especially compared to the situation in 1989, when the two sides were "close to a resolution".