Union Ministry of Defence today said talks have been going on between Government of India and Pakistan to resolve the Siachen issue by withdrawing troops from the world's highest battlefield during winter.
This was stated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Rajya Sabha through a written reply to questions of Rajeev Shukla whoe had sought information about talks with Pakistan regarding withdrawal of forces from Siachen during winter, and that whether Government would consider any such idea.
"Thirteen rounds of talks to resolve the Siachen issue have already taken place between GoI and Pakistan, led by the respective Defence Secretaries," the Defence Minister's reply reads.
Giving details of talks between two nations, the reply reads that on December 9, 2015, External Affairs Minister met Pakistani leadership on the sidelines of the 'Heart of Asia' process for regional cooperation on Afghanistan. These discussions directed the Foreign Secretaries of both countries to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the comprehensive bilateral dialogue on various issues including Siachen.
Replying another part of question, Defence Minister's reply stated that Indian soldiers deployed in extremely harsh terrain and weather conditions are suitably equipped and properly trained to undertake the operational challenges and carry out their mandated tasks.
"The soldiers deployed at Siachen glacier are provided with quality winter clothing including extreme cold climate clothing. Besides, they are provided with prefabricated insulated shelters and wherever it is not possible to construct such shelters due to technical difficulties, insulated tents are provided which can withstand low temperatures upto – 500 Celsius," it reads.
"The Units are self-sufficient for a period of 240 days of supplies. During winters, daily maintenance of troops is carried out by rotary and fixed wing assets," it stated.
India has been holding the dominating heights on Siachen glacier since it occupied them in 1984 under Operation Meghdoot.
According to estimates, almost 2,000 personnel from both side died at the deadly glacier due to extreme weather conditions at Siachen since 1984.