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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 June, 2005, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
Indian PM visits Siachen glacier
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, left, shakes hands with soldiers, as Indian Army Chief Gen JJ Singh, second left, looks on.
Manmohan Singh is the first premier to visit Siachen
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says a Himalayan glacier in Kashmir should become a "peace mountain" between India and Pakistan.

Mr Singh was visiting the 5,500m Siachen glacier, the first Indian premier to do so.

It is the world's highest battlefield, more soldiers have died on it from the extreme cold than from enemy fire.

A ceasefire has been in place since November 2003 and the nuclear rivals have engaged in a peace process.


"Siachen is called the highest battlefield where living is very difficult," Mr Singh is quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

"Our efforts should be that such an environment of peace is created wherein nobody feels any threats, and there is no scope for a conflict, and this place becomes an example of peace," he said.

But he also ruled out any change or any possibility of pulling Indian troops off the icy glacier.

"We feel these boundaries are important not only for our security but it relates to the country's prestige also," he said.

No common ground

Last month, talks between India and Pakistan on the long-running military stand-off over the Siachen glacier ended without any breakthrough.

The two sides agreed to continue talks but did not set any dates for their next meeting.

Pakistan wants both sides to pull back to the positions they held more than 20 years ago before India occupied most of the ice field.

India agrees but says the withdrawal should be preceded by marking the current position of the two forces.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the territory but embarked on a peace process 18 months ago.

The latest step last month was the start of the first bus service to cross the Line of Control that divides Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

During his current visit, the Indian prime minister said efforts would be made to open up the road between the northern Kashmiri town of Kargil and Skardu, which is across the Line of Control in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

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