India and Pakistan hold Siachen glacier talks

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Siachen glacierImage source, AFP
Image caption,
The Siachen glacier is known as the world's highest battlefield

Top defence officials from India and Pakistan have held talks in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi on the contested Siachen glacier.

The glacier is claimed by the two countries, which each have thousands of troops stationed there.

Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani recently said both sides should pull out.

His remarks came after 140 people, including 129 Pakistani soldiers, were buried by an avalanche in the region.

The Indian side is led by Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, while the Pakistani side is led by his counterpart Nargis Sethi.

This is the 13th round of talks on the glacier between the two countries.

A joint statement is expected on Tuesday.

Ahead of Monday's talks, Pakistani defence ministry spokesman Sohail Aftab said the two sides would "discuss Siachen and other matters related to defence affairs".

India's Defence Minister AK Antony said people should not expect any major breakthrough at the meeting.

"Do not expect any dramatic announcement or decision on an issue which is very important for us, specially in the context of national security... You cannot expect a dramatic announcement from one discussion," he told reporters.

Kashmir has been partitioned between India and Pakistan since 1947.

Failure to agree on the status of the territory by diplomatic means has twice brought India and Pakistan to war.

The Siachen glacier is known as the world's highest battlefield, and soldiers have been deployed at heights of up to 22,000 ft (6,700m) above sea level.

More soldiers have died from the harsh weather conditions there than in combat.

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