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Indian, Pakistani Defense Secretaries Open Talks on Siachen Glacier

Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan have opened a new round of talks over the Siachen glacier in Kashmir, where thousands of troops are stationed on what is considered the world's highest battlefield.

Pakistan's defense secretary, Tariq Waseem Ghazi, and his Indian counterpart, Shekhar Dutt, opened the two-day talks Tuesday in New Delhi.

The two sides are discussing a proposal for a troop withdrawal from the glacier. India says the present troop positions should first be marked on a map and on the ground as evidence in case the area is reoccupied after a deal. Pakistan opposes the marking, saying it would legitimize Indian occupation of the strategic glacier in 1984.

The glacier region has been peaceful since late 2003, when India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire in Kashmir.

On Tuesday, India announced that it is unilaterally releasing 59 Pakistani fishermen arrested last year after illegally crossing into its waters. A Foreign Ministry statement says they are being released as a goodwill gesture.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.