India, Pakistan discuss their glacier battlefield

May 30, 2011 - 8:59 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — India and Pakistan worked to reduce tensions in the world's highest battlefield Monday, as their defense secretaries discussed ways to demilitarize the Siachen Glacier.

Thousands of troops are stationed on the freezing Himalayan terrain, where more troops have died from the grueling conditions than from hostile fire.

The talks, scheduled to end Tuesday, are part of a renewed peace dialogue between the nuclear-armed neighbors that had broken down after Pakistan-based militants went on a deadly terror rampage in the city of Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.

The home secretaries from both sides met in New Delhi in March and agreed to set up a terrorism hotline and to cooperate on the Mumbai attack investigation — a major step in placating Indian concerns. The secretaries for commerce also met in April.

The glacier is one of several areas of dispute between the nations that have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

No dramatic breakthroughs are expected from the talks. The gap between both sides remains wide on everything from the status of Siachen to their rival claims to the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

India is going ahead with the talks despite revelations made by a Pakistani-American in a trial in Chicago last week that Pakistani intelligence was involved in plotting and funding the Mumbai attacks.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the trial did not reveal any information that Indian authorities did not already possess.