Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Wednesday said that India was not averse to the possible demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier — the world’s highest battleground and an old sore in India-Pakistan ties —- provided the neighbour accepted the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) that separates Indian and Pakistani positions.
Islamabad has so far not agreed to authenticate troop positions on the glacier.
“We are not averse to the demilitarisation of the glacier but the pre-condition for that is to accept AGPL. Pakistan has to accept what are their positions and what are ours, and both of us have to sign on the dotted line before any kind of disengagement takes place. What is happening in eastern Ladakh is quite similar…first disengagement, then de-induction and de-escalation, which is another way of saying demilitarisation,” the army chief said at his customary press briefing ahead of Army Day on January 15.
Acceptance of AGPL is the first step towards demilitarisation but the Pakistan side loathes doing that. He said the Siachen situation occurred because of unilateral attempts by Pakistan to change status quo and countermeasures taken by the Indian Army.
The Line of Control that divides India and Pakistan ends at a reference point called NJ 9842. The boundary beyond this point was referred to simply as “thence northwards to the glacier,” leading to different interpretations.