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Indian Army chief visits Leh


Indian Army Chief Gen V K Singh. A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Ahead of the Defence Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan, Army Chief Gen V K Singh visited the 14 Corps in Leh on Wednesday where he reviewed the security situation in areas under the formation, including the Siachen glacier.

"During the visit, the Army Chief attended the routine annual map exercise and was briefed on the operational aspects of the Corps," Army officials said here.

The visit also assumes significance as the Siachen Glacier issue is likely to come up for discussion during the Indo-Pak Defence Secretary-level talks which are likely to take place in May-end.

The 14 Corps looks after the Indian territories along both Pakistan and China border including the Siachen Glacier and Kargil-Drass sectors.

The bone of contention in the negotiations between the two sides on the Siachen issue, however, has been the "delineation" of the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) beyond the NJ-9842 reference point, where the Line of Control simply stopped in the 1972 Shimla Pact, up to the Karakoram Pass.

India has been pressing for authenticating the AGPL, both on the map and the ground, as its troops occupy most of the dominating posts on the Saltoro Ridge, before there is troop disengagement, withdrawal and the final demilitarisation of the glacier.

Army sources say demand for such an arrangement would be made to delineate the AGPL before any agreement for withdrawal of troops is reached between the two countries.

Both India and Pakistan maintain a Brigade-level presence across the 6,300-metre glacier where weather conditions and icy terrain claim more lives than bullets.

During the visit, the Army Chief interacted with officers and jawans at the formation and emphasised on the requirement of extensive combat training, whilst braving the hardships of weather and terrain, they added.

Northern Army Commander Lt Gen K T Parnaik and 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Ravi Dastane were also present there.

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