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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 10, 2007
Take army into confidence on Siachen, BJP chief tells UPA Government
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Take army into confidence on Siachen, BJP chief tells UPA Government

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh has said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs UPA Government should not take a decision on demilitarising the Siachen Glacier without taking the Indian Army into confidence.

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), May 10 : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh has said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's UPA Government should not take a decision on demilitarising the Siachen Glacier without taking the Indian Army into confidence.

Speaking to reporters here, Singh said: "The Government of India should not take any steps on Siachen, without taking the Army into confidence. I expect the Government of India does not take a decision behind the back of the Army."

India has so far refused to withdraw its troops from the glacier until Pakistan officially authenticates the positions held by the two sides before withdrawal. Pakistan said it is willing to agree on condition that is not a final endorsement of India's claim over the glacier.

Troops have faced each other across the Siachen glacier since 1984, when India sent a force into the remote region located in the north of Kashmir.

Last week, Defence Minister A.K.Antony said that New Delhi's position on the Siachen Glacier was clear and irrevocable.

"From the beginning, our position has been clear -- before there is any forward movement, the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL of the two countries' troops) has to be authenticated. After that, we can think about other movements. Both sides must agree to the AGPL on the map and on the ground," Antony asserted.

Indian and Pakistani troops are confronting each other at elevations higher than 6,000 metres above sea level. The area contested is a desolate stretch of about 2,500 sq km situated immediately south of the Chinese border.

The United Nations-supervised ceasefire line (CFL) of 1949 extended from the international border between India and Pakistan near Chhamb in Jammu and Kashmir in a rough arc that ran nearly 800 km north and then northeastwards to a point, NJ 9842, nearly 20 km north of the Shyok river in the Chulung group of mountains of the Saltoro range.

Since the territory beyond this point witnessed no military activity and appeared inaccessible, no attempt was made at the time to extend the CFL beyond NJ 9842 to the Chinese border. At least a 65-km stretch was left undelineated.

Singh also said that he was expecting a hung Assembly in Uttar Pradesh, and the party would decide its further course of action after the results were declared on Friday.

"I accept the fact that there is a probability of a hung assembly. We will decide our further course of action after the results of the election are declared."

Exit polls show the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which represents Dalits, emerging as the political party with the largest number of seats in the 403-member State Assembly.

With caste and religion dominant themes in Uttar Pradesh, home to 170 million people, groups with regional support such as the BSP and the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) have eroded the influence of national-level parties in the state that was once a bellwether of Indian politics.

The Congress has witnessed a steady erosion in its support in Uttar Pradesh, once its stronghold, and a well-publicised campaign by Rahul Gandhi, heir to India's best known political dynasty, drew large crowds but apparently few votes.

With national elections two years away, the Congress and the BJP are expected to assess the results from the state closely.

A good showing by the BJP could mark its revival after a loss of political direction from a shock election defeat in national polls in 2004, analysts said.

A further 10 state elections are due next year.

ANI

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