Former Chief of Army Staff and former Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, General (Retd) JJ Singh, revealed that there was "pressure", possibly from the Americans, on the erstwhile Manmohan Singh-led UPA government to "compromise" on the highly strategic Siachen Glacier in Ladakh in order to settle disputes with Pakistan.
Speaking to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, General Singh said, "There was some pressure being built on the government of that time (2006) to settle the Siachen issue, it could be pressure from America who was close to Pakistan. Mr. Manmohan Singh's team, which included Shyam Saran, the NSA and others. They said we want to make Siachen 'a mountain of peace'. It was a discussion in Delhi."
He further said that he had asked the then-PM Manmohan Singh to visit Siachen Glacier to which he agreed and they discussed the importance of the area.
#SiachenConspiracy | Manmohan Singh's team wanted to make Siachen a 'mountain of peace'. It was a discussion in Delhi: Gen JJ Singh (Retd)- Former COAS & Former Governor of Arunachal Pradesh pic.twitter.com/f5UH55uKgJ— Republic (@republic) June 24, 2020
Talking about the importance of Siachen, General Singh highlighted that the glacier is the longest glacier other than the Arctic and is 76 km long and starts at Indira Col and comes down to where it meets the Shyok River. It is bound by the Karakoram mountain range on the north and its east. On the west, it is bound by the Saltoro Ridge, which divides Indian and Pakistani army positions in the area.
"From their position, Pakistan cannot even take a glimpse at the glacier, let alone be on the glacier," said JJ Singh, noting the advantage India has by controlling the heights of Siachen.
Siachen Glacier is the highest battleground on Earth and is a sovereign territory of India, to which Pakistan has baseless territorial claims. In 1984, India successfully captured the Glacier as part of Operation Meghdoot that put Pakistan at a great strategic disadvantage. India took control of the over 70-kilometre-long Glacier and it's tributary glaciers, as well as all the main passes and heights of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier, including Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La.