Pakistan's perspective on the Siachen Conflict

Pakistan's Perspective

Siachen Area Kashmir Map
  • In spite of the severe climate, the word `Siachen` ironically means `the place of wild roses`.
  • The glacier is the highest battleground on Earth, where India and Pakistan have fought intermittently since 1984.
  • Siachen is the world's largest non-polar glacier, and thus is sometimes referred to as the third pole.

A ceasefire has been in force on the Actual Ground Position Line in the Siachen area since the midnight of November 25, 2005. Nine round of talks have been held on Siachen and the 10th round is going to be held on May 23 and 24, 2006

T h e S i a c h e n G l a c i e r is located in the East Karakoram/Himalaya, at approximately 35.5 N 76.9 E. It is one of the five largest glaciers in the Karakoram, situated at an average altitude of 5,400 meters (~17,700 feet) above sea level. Most of the Siachen Glacier as is the LoC, a hotly contested territory between Pakistan and India.

The roots of the conflict over Siachen (the place of roses) lie in the non-demarcations on the western side on the map beyond NJ9842. The 1949 Karachi agreement and the 1972 Simla agreement presumed that it was not feasible for human habitation to survive north of NJ9842. Piror to 1984 neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence in the area.

Pak army stakes claim to Siachen

November 24, 2006

Islamabad: Giving a new twist to the Siachen issue, Pakistan Army has claimed the glacier is a disputed area as it is part of Kashmir and thus India has no justification to ask Islamabad to authenticate troop positions there.

"Siachen is also part of Kashmir. We think the Indian army went there when there was no military presence and it (take over) was not justified," Pakistan Army's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Ehsan-ul-Haq said in an interview to Geo TV on Thursday night.

Reacting to the Indian Army officials' statement expressing reservations over pulling out troops from Siachan without the authentication of troop positions by Pakistan, Haq said such stand may have been taken on presumption that questions may be asked why the army marched into Siachen in 1984 and the criticism that why they have "occupied" it.

"That could be at the back of their mind. To ask Pakistan to authenticate, (positions held by Indians) it is not justified because the full area is disputed and to insist for such things, I do not think it is correct," he said.

India, while favouring demilitarisation of Siachen, has maintained that it cannot take place till Pakistan agrees to "iron-clad" authentication of present deployment of troops of the two countries.
New Delhi is insisting on authentication because of the experience in Kargil in 1999.

As part of the Indo-Pak dialogue process, both sides have been treating Siachen and Kashmir as separate issues.

Haq said Pakistan wants to have normal ties with India for mutual benefit. "We want to have normal relations with India which is mutually beneficial" and it is the wish of the people of the region also, he said.

Pakistan has taken lot of initiatives and lot of CBMs have been agreed upon by both governments which are being implemented. "The most important issue from Pakistan's point of view is Kashmir," he said adding that Pakistan leadership has made it clear that unless there is progress on Kashmir tthe CBMs will fall apart.

"The biggest CBM is to resolve Kashmir. These is complex issue but with a sincere approach and direction it can be resolved," he said.

Denying that Pakistan army was in arms race with India he claimed New Delhi was now rated as the highest procurer of defence equipment in the world and Pakistan was only matching to reach the deterrence level.


S i a c h e n Glacier is well inside Pakistani Territory. India wanted to Keep an Eye & wanted Control on Pakistan`s Strategic Route to China (the Karakorum Highway). Hence in 1982 India sent a Training Expedition to Antarctica to train under "Siachen Glacier Like" conditions. Then in April 1984, India conducted an Operation known as `Operation Meghdoot`, and INVADED Pakistani Territory.

Since Siachen Glacier is Not Physically connected to India (meaning that there is No Natural Ground Routes connecting India & Siachen Glacier), India used its Air Force to drop all of its forces at Siachen Glacier. And still to this day uses Helicopters & Aircrafts to transport Supplies, Food & Soldiers.

Siachen Glacier is Well Inside Pakistan, and Pakistan is fighting an Aggressor who is 5 times its size.


Siachen Glacier is the Worlds Biggest Glacier outside the two Poles.
It is also the world`s Highest Glacier.
That is why it is referred to as "The Third Pole."
It is also the World`s Highest Battle Ground Ever

Battles have occurred here in-excess of 22,000 ft

India is paying a heavy price at Siachen Glacier. According to a book on the War at Siachen Glacier, 50% of Indian soldiers, who make is back alive, suffer from Permanent Mental Retardation. Not to mention Amputations and other terrible things that Indian soldiers have to go through.

This war has been going on for about 15 year. Though the Price has been heavy for both sides (specially for India), Pakistan has been slowly driving the Indians out of Siachen Glacier (Pakistani Territory), and winning the war.


American, British, European & Japanese mountain climbers have always asked permission from the Pakistani Government to climb Siachen Glacier and its surrendering areas. American Tourist maps clearly show Siachen Glacier inside Pakistan. Indian in the early 80s trained its forces at Antarctica because Antarctica has Siachen Glacier like conditions. This clearly shows India`s Evil Intention which was to Invade Pakistani Siachen Glacier. Indian Majors secretly completed many Expeditions near Siachen Glacier in the early 80s.

Siachen: coming down to earth

July 2005

By A. R. Siddiqi

INDIA?S army chief General Jogindar Jaswant Singh is reported to have offered to pull out his troops from the dizzy heights of Siachen. The general is said to have already proposed a ?roadmap? to his government to convert the Siachen glacier into a ?mountain of peace?, in deference to the wishes of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

This is a dramatic and a welcome change coming as it does from the first Sikh Indian army chief, reportedly a hawk. Only last month, when secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan happened to be in progress in Islamabad, Gen Singh appeared on television to declare that the only solution acceptable to the Indian army would be one based on the actual ground position line (AGPL), Gen Singh?s own formulation.

General Singh made up for his lack of eloquence with the firmness of his tone and expression. His telecast warning almost threw a spanner into the works of the official talks, which ended somewhat abruptly leaving everyone wondering about the future of the CBMs between the two countries.

In his latest statement, Gen Singh has spoken unreservedly about converting Siachen and the controversial Saltoro ridge ? west of the glacier ? into a demilitarized zone. It is from this chain of high mountain peaks that the Indians control the glacier. The logic of India?s persistent refusal to vacate the Saltoro ridge is thus reversed by Gen Singh?s draft plan for demilitarization.

It is to be noted that demilitarization or disengagement will not by itself amount to a waiver of the claim by either party to the territories under their occupation. A demarcation line on operational maps will be delineated to indicate the respective areas for future reference and review. In view of the essentially non-strategic nature of the areas involved, there should be only a remote possibility for such an exigency ever to arise once the demilitarization is effected and mutual trust restored. In the opinion of a Pakistani expert on international law, Siachen may well be declared as ?terra nullis? (territory belonging to none) to ward off any question arising about its ?legal status? while demilitarization is under way and even thereafter, if necessary.

Yet another option available to the parties concerned could be international arbitration. After the war in the Rann of Kutch in May 1965, the dispute was referred for international arbitration. This option, nevertheless, should be invoked only after a collapse of the two-way process. The Kutch experience had been hardly to the satisfaction of either party, if only for the long hiatus between the initial referral of the dispute for arbitration, and its eventual settlement about four years later. Pakistan had to make do with 350 square miles of the northern Kutch as against its original claim to 3,500 square miles.

Siachen came into the picture in 1984 when Gen Chibber of the Indian army walked over into an area thinly-held by the Pakistan Army. Until then Pakistan exercised control over the glacier mainly for the issue of visas and transit permits to foreign mountaineers.

Various atlases and route maps showing Siachen on Pakistan?s side were rarely if ever disputed by India until Chibber?s forces intruded and occupied parts of the Saltoro range to the west.

Siachen does not figure either in the April 1948 agreement delimiting and demarcating the ceasefire line (CFL) or in the Shimla Agreement of 1972 delineating the Line of Control (LoC). The LoC was drawn on the basis of the areas in actual possession of India and Pakistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir after the 1971 war. Only territories along the international border lost or gained through the war were swapped together with POWs.

As delimited by the military commanders, the LoC at its last point on the map was marked as NJ 9842. This is around 78 kilometres short of the Siachen Glacier, and remained undemarcated until Chibber?s forces entered to turn it into disputed territory and a zone of perpetual tension, frequent gun duels and the source of some actual engagements between the two armies. According to an Indian analyst Bharat Bhushan, the ?descriptive explanation? of the boundary line beyond NJ-9842 ? ?thence north to the glaciers? ? has created confusion. ?India believes that the boundary would go north through the nearest watershed, the Saltoro ridge. Pakistan draws a straight line from NJ-9842 going northeast to the Karakoram pass. The former interpretation gives control of the glacier to India, the latter to Pakistan,? he says.

In sum, however, there would be hardly anything more exhilarating and gratifying than coming down to earth after an arduous, steep climb up the dizzy heights.?The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan Army.