08:37 GMT29 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Nearly three months after India repealed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government announced the opening of the Siachen region for tourism. The move is considered an attempt to populate the region, which Pakistan considers as being disputed since 1984.

    Pakistan has raised serious concerns over India’s decision to open the Siachen region for tourism. Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal claimed that India forcibly occupied Siachen in 1984 and that it is a disputed territory. 

    “How can India open Siachen for tourism? It is a disputed territory forcibly occupied by India. We do not expect any goodwill gesture from India”, Faisal said while briefing media in Islamabad on Thursday.

    While announcing the decision to open Siachen for tourists, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said last month that Ladakh has tremendous potential for growth through tourism.

    "Better connectivity in Ladakh would certainly bring tourists in large numbers. The Siachen area is now open for tourists and tourism", the minister said. "From Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post, the entire area has been opened for tourism".

    The Indian government claimed that the decision was made with consonance of the opinion submitted by the Indian Army, as it believed that people have developed a keen interest in army life and its ways, especially noting the mounting interest by Indians wanting to visit Ladakh and nearby areas.

    At 5,000 to 7,000 metres above sea-level, the Siachen Glacier is the world's highest battlefield, contested by India and Pakistan since 1984, when the Indian Army occupied it.

    The Siachen Glacier is part of the Ladakh region, which India announced as a separate administrative state on 5 August. China has been objecting to what they term the "unacceptable" decision and has asked India to revoke it.


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    border dispute, Pakistan, India, glacier, Ladakh region
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