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No great breakthrough expected as India, Pak Siachen talk

Islamabad: The Defence Secretaries of India and Pakistan today began talks on the military standoff on Siachen against the backdrop of calls from Islamabad to demilitarise the Himalayan glacier in the wake of an avalanche that killed 139 people at a Pakistan Army camp.

The two-day talks on the Siachen issue, part of the resumed dialogue process between India and Pakistan, are being held at the Defence Ministry in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The Indian delegation is led by Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma while the Pakistani side is headed by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi, a close confidant of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Despite Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani`s call for the resolution of the Siachen issue after an avalanche buried 139 people at the high-altitude army camp on April 7, analysts believe the two sides are unlikely to make progress in the talks on ending the standoff that began in 1984.

Ahead of the talks, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony cautioned against expecting any breakthrough at the meeting of the Defence Secretaries.

"Do not expect any dramatic announcement or decision on an issue which is very important for us, especially in the context of national security," he told reporters in New Delhi last week.

India has a "clear-cut position" on the Siachen issue which the Defence Secretary will explain to the Pakistani side during the talks, Antony said.

India`s Cabinet Committee on Security discussed the Siachen issue at a meeting last Thursday. .

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