Tag Archives: Conflict resolution in South Asia

Can we solve Siachen without solving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute?

Myra MacDonald with Pakistani Army officers in the Gyari sector in 2004
Myra MacDonald with Pakistani Army officers in the Gyari sector in 2004

Myra MacDonald is a London-based journalist with Reuters and a long-time observer of South Asia. She tracks the turning points in Pakistan politics at the Pakistan: Now or Never. MacDonald is best known for her book on the Siachen conflict, Heights of Madness: One Woman’s Journey in Pursuit of a Secret War. Published in 2007, the research for the book took her to both sides of the conflict, on helicopter and on ground. She was bureau chief of Reuters in India in 2000-2003. She then took leave-of-absence to research the Siachen conflict, becoming one of the very few people to visit the war zone on both the Indian and Pakistani sides. She has given presentations on Siachen to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Amidst alarmist rumours that track-two parleys between India and Pakistan are urging India to ‘give up Siachen’, MacDonald tells Shivam Vij in an e-mail interview why resolving Siachen without resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute may not be easy.

Q1) The idea of demilitarising Siachen is being seen by some in India as a demand to hand Siachen over to Pakistan, or at the very least, to ‘lose’ the territory for which Indian soldiers have made great sacrifices. Do you agree with such an interpretation of demilitarising the glacier? Do you think India has real strategic advantage with its occupation of the glacier? Continue reading Can we solve Siachen without solving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute?