Pakistan's president visits India, but distrust runs deep (+video)
Pakistani President Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Singh discuss Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek, two border disputes kept alive by lack of trust.
In a rare exchange, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met in New Delhi over the weekend. The discussion included the long-running border disputes of Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek, two of the smaller but more actionable items standing between the nuclear rivals.
Known as the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen Glacier in the Himalaya Mountains has been the site of intermittent conflict for several decades over who should lay claim to the barren expanse. Though a ceasefire has been in place since 2003, thousands of troops from both sides still patrol the glacier, at times in temperatures far below zero. On Saturday, a massive avalanche near the glacier buried more than 120 Pakistani soldiers with rescue operations yielding no success.
While Siachen is a military dispute, Sir Creek, a 60-mile stretch of water between the Indian state of Gujarat and Sindh province of Pakistan is an economic one. Much of the region is rich in oil and gas below the seabed, and control over the creek would have an important bearing on the energy potential of each nation.
Mr. Zardari urged the Prime Minister to expedite the resolution process of the longstanding territorial rows and extended an invitation to Mr. Singh to visit Pakistan soon for further talks. Singh accepted the invitation. But with no assurance on his demand that Pakistan take immediate steps to rein in terror groups operating from its soil, analysts say these border agreements remain a long way off.