Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistan and India have been fighting for more than a year for control of a strategic area at the junction of Pakistan, India and China, a government official said Saturday.

The parliamentary secretary for defense, Col. W. Herbert, said in reply to questions from the 237member National Assembly that Pakistan had rejected an Indian solution to the border dispute.

India, he said, wants the actual line of military control along the 16,000foot Siachin glacier to be recognized as the international border. But Pakistan said in February that neither side has a valid claim to the glacier, in effect saying the area should be neutral.

Since April 1984, Herbert said, the two neighbors have fought “with small arms and artillery’ over the glacier, which is located at the junction of Pakistan, India and China.

Herbert declined National Assembly requests for a public comment on the comparative troop strengths, saying, “It is not considered to be in public interest to give an account of comparative strengths at this stage.”

Representatives of the Pakistani and Indian armies have met three times to discuss the 45mile long glacier in an effort to defuse the conflict, he said.

Islamabad considers the glacier important to its security in the north, especially along the 500mile Karakoram highway to China. New Delhi wants to secure its position on the glacier as part of a dispute with Peking over the Aksai Chin area, now controlled by China.

The dispute between India and Pakistan also has involved claims to the disputed Kashmir region, which includes the glacier. The two countries fought three brief wars over Kashmir in 194748, 1965 and 1971.

Kashmir’s border was set after the last war, according to what is referred to as the “actual line of control.” But the northern area, including the Siachin glacier, was excluded because of steep mountains and harsh weather.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 23, 1985