Pakistan occupies the southern slopes of the Saltoro Ridge, whereas India occupies the northern slopes and the approximately 5480- to 6700-m ridge (Figure 1). The Line of Control (LOC) of 1972 demarcatesthe boundary in Kashmir between India and Pakistan up to a point known as NJ 9842. Beyond this point, demarcation is described by the vague statement,“... and thence north to the glaciers.” Because this desolate area was uninhabited and contained no troops, there was no compulsion to be more precise. For 35 years, this vague definition—or lack of definition—was not a problem. The LOC is 790 km long, and only a small section of it was left unmarked. The Siachen and the Saltoro were a virtual no-man’s-land.The root-cause of the Siachen dispute lies in the origin of the Kashmir dispute itself. The armed conflict over the possession of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir that erupted between Pakistan and India after independence in 1947 ended inconclusively withboth countries administering parts of the disputed territory. [pic]
The areas of the disputed state that fell under Pakistan are called Azad Jammu and Kashmir. As for the Northern Areas, they were never as such under the direct jurisdiction of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in undivided India. The Siachen glacier and its approaches fall within the Pakistani-administered Northern Areas’ Baltistan region.
India controls two-third of the disputed territory, including Jammu state, Ladakh, and the valley of Kashmir. The Karachi agreement, signed by Pakistan and India at the end of their 1947 war, demarcated the Ceasefire Line. The Ceasefire Line ran along the international Pakistan-India border and then north and northeast until map grid-point NJ 9842, located near the Shyok near the southern end of the Siachen glacier.During the 1947 fighting, Muslim Baltistani forces had advanced to the foot of the glacier, clearing the entire...