No breakthrough in Pakistan, India Siachen talks

ISLAMABAD – Staying glued to their respective positions, Pakistan and India have agreed to continue dialogue process for the resolution of Siachen and all other ‘outstanding’ issues and hold discussions at the relevant platforms.

The two-day secretary-level talks between the defence secretaries of both the countries saw progress on strategic cooperation for troops’ withdrawal from the world’s highest militarised region. The deliberations, to be followed by the issuance of a joint statement today (Tuesday), would be taken up at the foreign ministers meeting likely next month and the expected defence ministers-level discussions.

An eight-member Indian delegation led by the Indian Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma arrived in Islamabad on Sunday on a three-day visit to participate in the 13th round of secretary-level talks, according to defence ministry. Secretary Defence Nargis Sethi headed Pakistani side. Senior Indian defence ministry officials Shankar Aggarwal and Deepak Anurag are also part of the Indian delegation, according to sources.

“The preliminary discussions were held in a very pleasant and cordial atmosphere. Both sides explained their respective stances on Siachen issue-a joint statement after the concluding session will be issued in this regard,” a defence ministry statement said.

According to official sources, the joint statement would be a suggestive document urging both the sides; India and Pakistan, for the settlement of outstanding issues but it would not contain any recommendations. The document would not specify rest of the unresolved issues between India and Pakistan other than Siachen (Kashmir and Sir Creek)

Reportedly, the draft recommendations for the resolution of Siachen, Sir Creek and Kashmir issues would be prepared during the concluding session of Pak-India foreign ministers meeting in the coming July. During the Monday’s deliberations, Pakistani delegation is reported to have called for the resolution of Siachen dispute in the light of 1989 Pak-India agreement on Siachen and a follow up agreement signed three years later by both states, in 1992. The Indian side is said to have favoured further discussions on phase-wise troops withdrawal from Siachen and proportional troops pullout from the valley by both the countries-a reported policy that envisages early troops evacuation of base posts and eviction of forward posts at later stages.

“There is a realisation among both the sides that confrontation would lead to very negative implications that hinder economic and social development. Peace is the ultimate solution to bring prosperity in the region. Pakistan and India need to keep peace measures intact so as to eradicate misgivings and move on. Cooperation is the key to success,” Federal Minister for Defence Syed Naveed Qamar told TheNation.

He said the joint statement on the two-day deliberations would be incorporated in the foreign ministers and defence ministers-level talks. To a query, the minister said, his meeting with the Indian Defence Minister AK Anthony was expected soon but the schedule and venue were not finalised as yet. “The foreign ministers meeting will be another step towards the settlement of contentious issues. The defence ministers meeting would follow it.”

Earlier, according to a press release, Indian delegation also called on the Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar. “Matters of bilateral interests were discussed in the meeting, the minister expressed that it was in the interest of both India and Pakistan to seek the amicable resolution of all the outstanding issues, including Siachen as it would tremendously contribute towards the peace and prosperity of South Asian region,” it said.

In a demonstration of flexibility in its otherwise toughened stance on Siachen issue, Pakistan’s military command had called for the resolution of Siachen issue through demilitarisation. The development followed Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s visit to Gayari in April after an avalanche had wiped out a Pakistan Army battalion there. General Kayani had urged for troops withdrawal by both the sides for ‘peaceful coexistence.

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Pakistan Has No Aggressive Design Against Anyone: Gen Kayani

Rawalpindi: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Friday said that Pakistan is a peace loving nation and focus of its armed forces always remained on defending and serving the country.

“We are a peace loving nation and harbor no aggression towards anyone but at the same time we value our freedom and independence more than anything else.”

He made these remarks while addressing participants of launching ceremony of book on Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed’s heroic life as military officer, held at General Headquarters (GHQs) here.

The COAS said that armed forces are fully prepared to ensure sovereignty and dignity of the country.

Appreciating the role and sacrifices of young officers of Pakistan Army during the war against terrorism, he said, “The young officers have setexamples for us and we should acknowledge the dedication of our brave soldiers who are taking pride by laying their lives for the nation.”

He said the ratio of martyred officers and soldiers is 1-10 which reflects their resolve and commitment.

General Kayani also paid tribute to Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) and termed him one of the most courageous military officers and symbol of bravery and valour for the new generation.

He also appreciated the writer who highlighted several aspect of life and role of Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed (NH).

He said Colonel Azam Qadri (Retd) has made the epic life of the legendary solider more memorable than ever through his remarkable effort of collecting and compiling the shining moments of Major Shabir’s career.

Speaking on the occasion, other speakers also paid tribute to Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed and threw light on his achievement.

The book “What more can a solider desire” is a candid account of Major Shabir’s acts of valour and bravery he displayed throughout his military career and during the two Pakistan-India wars of 1965 and 1971.

Major Shabir embraced Shahadat on December 6, 1971 while firing and engaging the Indian tanks in the Sulemanki Sector.

Portion of the book is based upon the letters that Major Shabir wrote to the author, which contain and enumerate not only some historic facts about the Pakistan-India war of 1965, but also present a good reflection of his day-to-day life, as well as his personality.

The book not only galvanizes the desire of achievement, but also portrays the parts of Major Shabir Sharif’s life in a novel and impressive way.

New Book on Major Shabir Sharif (NH) Launched

A simple but impressive book launching ceremony on Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed’s heroic life as military officer “What more can a solider desire” was held here in Rawalpindi today. Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was chief guest on this occasion. COAS while speaking on this occasion paid rich tribute to Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed (NH) and appreciated the efforts of writer and all those who helped in writing of this book.

Colonel (Retired) Azam Qadri is presenting a book on the life of Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed (NH) “What more can a solider desire” to Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at GHQ Auditorium Rawalpindi today.

The book “What more can a soldier desire” is a candid account of Major Shabir’s acts of valour and bravery he displayed throughout his military career and during the two Pakistan-India wars, of 1965 and 1971. Book has been written by Colonel (Retired) Azam Qadri. The writer has made the epic life of that legendary soldier more memorable through his remarkable effort of collecting and compiling the shining moments of Major Shabir’s career. Major Shabir Sharif embraced Shahadat on December 6, 1971in the Sulemanki Sector. Portion of the book is based upon the letters that Major Shabir wrote to the author, which contains and enumerate not only some historic facts about the Pakistan-India war of 1965, but also present a good reflection of his day-to-day life, as well as his personality.
Speakers which included writer of the book, Major Shabir Shaheed’s son, colleagues and close friends in military and from civil, spoke in detail about the life of great soldier who received highest gallantry award, Nishan-e- Haider in 1971 and Sitar-e-Jurrat in 1965 war. He can be regarded as the highest decorated military officer not only in Pakistan, but maybe internationally.
The book “What more can a soldier desire” not only galvanizes the desire of achievement, but also portrays the parts of Major Shabir Sharif’s life in a novel and impressive way. It is worth-reading.
The ceremony was attended by a large number of senior serving and retired armed forces officers, people from all walks of life including media and family members of Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed.