Pakistan concerned over US generalís Siachen visit

16 October 2008
The News International
Mariana Baabar

Islamabad: Pakistan has taken a serious notice of reports that the United States Army chief General W Casey will visit the base camp at the Siachen Glacier in held Jammu and Kashmir during his three-day visit to the region, this week. Any such visit to an area which is disputed and which is under discussion between Pakistan and India will certainly cast a shadow on the ongoing Composite Dialogue between the two neighbours, a Foreign Office spokesman told The News. However, he added that they could not confirm this report, which was based on a news story. In the past also, India had taken several expeditions civil and army personnel to Siachen Glacier while calling them tourist expeditions. However, after Pakistan officially took up this issue with New Delhi, there have been no more reports of these expeditions. At present, there is a ceasefire holding at the worlds highest battleground, where more soldiers on both the sides have lost their lives to weather than to bullets. Indian media reports speak of Casey being briefed on high-altitude land warfare techniques. However, security experts like Dr Shireen Mazari has said the visit of Casey will go a long way in undermining the peace talks between Islamabad and New Delhi. As usual, the United States is set upon undermining the conflict resolution process between India and Pakistan on a very sensitive issue. This US visit once again confirms Washingtons partisan and biased agenda, said Mazari.