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No link between progress on Siachen, other bilateral issues

New Delhi, Jun 16: India today said it does not see any link in making progress with Pakistan on the demilitarisation of Siachen glacier with resolving other bilateral issues.Government sources said differences in the stand
PTI June 16, 2012 23:03 IST
New Delhi, Jun 16: India today said it does not see any link in making progress with Pakistan on the demilitarisation of Siachen glacier with resolving other bilateral issues.

Government sources said differences in the stand taken by the two neighbouring countries on position of troops at the world's highest battlefield remained and that they have not been able to bridge the gap so far.

The sources, however, said that India does not see any specific linkage in finding a solution to Siachen with other bilateral issues like Sir Creek.

Earlier this week, India and Pakistan held defence secretary-level talks in Islamabad but failed to make any headway in ending the military standoff on Siachen with both sides sticking to their stated positions.

At the end of two-days of talks, they merely committed themselves to “serious, sustained and result-oriented efforts” for an amicable settlement of the issue, while acknowledging that “the ceasefire (in Siachen) was holding since 2003.”

The sources said that talks between India and Pakistan are taking place on the basis of the Composite Dialogue Process.

The two countries will try to make progress in resolving bilateral issues wherever they can, they added.

In the backdrop of former Army chief Gen V K Singh writing a letter to the Prime Minister, raising concerns about India's defense preparedness, the sources said the armed forces are better prepared than ever before.

Many gaps in this regard have been plugged following steps taken in the last couple of years.

The sources also said that the government did not see anything wrong in the General writing a letter to the Prime Minister on the state of the country's military preparedness which kicked up a huge storm after it was leaked to the media.

On other issues related to Indo-Pak relations, the sources said that a role for India in finding a solution to the Afghan problem is no longer an issue for Pakistan.

The noise made by Pakistan over an Indian role in Afghanistan over the years is less shrill now, sources said.

Dealing with issues relating to the upcoming G 20 Summit at the Mexican resort town starting Monday, the sources said India does not expect world leaders at the Summit to raise questions on the dip in its economic growth rate following the difficult economic situation facing the country.

India is not going to be confronted with questions like why its economy is losing steam, the sources said adding the country's economic situation is better than some of the Group of 20's developed and developing countries.

Official data released late last month had pointed to quarterly growth falling to a nine-year low of 5.3 per cent in the three months ended March 31 while the same for fiscal 2011-12 stood at 6.5 per cent, lower than the 6.7 per cent clocked during the peak of the credit crisis in 2008-09.

The sources attached significance to US President Barrack Obama's telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday last ahead of the G-20 Summit reflecting his desire to work with India to strengthen the resilience of the Indian economy to cope with the shocks of Euro zone debt crisis.

The Summit is likely to be dominated by the financial crisis in Europe which, combined with slowing growth in emerging markets like India and China, poses a threat to the world economy. The two Asian giants are traditional drivers of the growth of the world economy.

The sources said the warning of a ratings downgrade of India by Standard and Poor's neither impacts on its standing in BRICS nor undermines its clout on the global high table.

They said S & P “does not determine what we at BRICS think about each other. They (S&P) have their own prism (of gauging an economy). But we remain a robust and a growing economy. That cannot be taken away,” the sources added.