SIACHEN GLACIER, May 10 (1989): Pakistan and India have fought increased artillery duels across the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen Glacier, in the past three weeks, causing casualties on both sides, a senior army officer said.
Lieutenant-General B.C. Nanda said he believed Pakistani losses on the Siachen Glacier had been high and acknowledged: “We too have suffered some casualties.”
No immediate comment was available from the Islamabad government.
Nanda, commander of northern army forces, declined to say how many Indian soldiers had died or been wounded on the glacier, which straddles a mountainous ceasefire line between Indian and Pakistani-controlled regions of disputed Kashmir.
As Indian howitzers fired in the background, he told reporters Pakistan caused the fighting by establishing two new posts on the Saltoro Ridge. India protested to Islamabad but a meeting on the ceasefire line last weekend failed to defuse the tension.
The disputed region will be the major topic during talks in Islamabad at the end of the month between defence officials of both sides, government source said.
The ceasefire line agreed in 1972 was never extended across the boulder-strewn and broken snowfields of the glacier because the terrain was so hostile.
India considers it vital to retain control of the region because it is a natural barrier against incursions into Indian controlled Kashmir.