J&K Is An Integral Part Of India -- Govt To Tell Pak

Mumbai/Delhi: Pakistan on Monday formally dissented to India decision to open Siachen glacier and Saltoro ridge to trekkers.

The Pakistan foreign ministry representative stated that the Indian deputy high commissioner was summoned to the foreign office and a protestation was lodged with him.

"The Indian deputy high commissioner was told that the Indian plans to open up the disputed territory for tourist purpose was viewed with deep concern by Pakistan. The area remains a conflict zone and the reported move by India to open up Siachen for tourism could aggravate the situation with serious consequences that could vitiate the atmosphere for the ongoing peace process,” the spokesman added.

In the meantime, India is all set to inform Pakistan that it is well within its rights to take visitants up to Siachen. The peaks that are being thrown open to trekkers are all under Indian control, and second, India claims all of Jammu & Kashmir as an integral part.

In Mumbai, the three mountaineers were in trouble as they had expended about Rs 7,000 each arranging for air tickets to New Delhi from where they were to carry on to Leh.

Deoahar said, “We were unable to get a refund from Air Deccan because we were unable to provide the mandatory four hours' notice required for cancellation. As Col Kumar said the trip had been postponed by a few days we even offered to reschedule our bookings to the following weekend. However, he has been unreachable since that last conversation.”

TOI was not able to reach Col Kumar who had turned off his mobile phone late Monday evening, but a private representative for his company stated he was only passing on the commands that had been issued to him by the Army.

"The trip has not been cancelled, only postponed, that is all we can say right now," the representative added.

India had earlier quietly started out to keenly encourage hiking and trekking excursions to the forbidding Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge area as part of a well-crafted strategy, "approved at the highest levels" said sources.

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