New Delhi : The government on Friday said it will not withdraw forces from the Saltoro range heights on the Siachen Glacier despite the human and financial costs, adding it needs to maintain its strategic positions.

“For strategic reasons, the position of Saltoro Range and the highest position we have… strategically, this area is very important for us to man. I know there is a price we are paying for it and I salute our brave soldiers. But I think we need to maintain these positions without hesitation,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in  the Lok Sabha.

He was responding to a supplementary by AIADMK member B. Senguttuvan, who sought to know the strategic advantage for stationing Indian troops on the glacier.

“If we vacate these positions and if the enemy occupies them, it will be almost impossible and we will have to lose many more lives to recover them, as was the experience in 1984 when they were not fully occupied,” Parrikar said.

“As far as Pakistan is concerned, I do not think anyone in the house will take their word for granted. So, we have to maintain our strategic advantage,” he added.

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