Siachen Glacier : The Highest battleground on Earth

A.V.

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all news ,articles and discussions on siachen here.
 

A.V.

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The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains along the disputed India-Pakistan border at about 35°30′N 77°00′E / 35.5°N 77.0°E / 35.5; 77.0. India controls all of the Siachen Glacier itself, including all tributary glaciers. At 70 km long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world's non-polar areas.[5] It falls from an altitude of 5,753 m (18,875 ft) above sea level at its source at Indira Col (pass) on the China border down to 3,620 m (11,875 ft) at its snout.

The Siachen Glacier lies south of the great watershed that separates China from the Indian subcontinent in the extensively glaciated portion of the Karakoram that is sometimes called the "Third Pole." The glacier lies between the Saltoro Ridge immediately to the west and the main Karakoram range to the east. The Saltoro Ridge originates in the north from the Sia Kangri peak on the China border in the Karakoram range. The crest of the Saltoro Ridge's altitudes range from 5,450 to 7,720 m (17,880 to 25,330 feet). The major passes on this ridge are, from north to south, Sia La at 5,589 m (18,336 ft), Bilafond La at 5,450 m (17,880 ft), and Gyong La at 5,689 m (18,665 ft) The average winter snowfall is 10.5 m (35 ft) and temperatures can dip to -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit). Including all tributary glaciers, the Siachen Glacier system covers about 700 square kilometers
 

A.V.

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Conflict Zone

The glacier's melting waters are the main source of the Nubra River, which drains into the Shyok River. The Shyok in turn joins the Indus River, thus the glacier is a major source of the river Indus. Global warming has had one of its worst impacts here in the Himalayas with the glaciers melting at an unprecedented rate and monsoon rains now appearing north of the mountains. The volume of the glacier has been reduced by 35 percent over the last twenty years; military activity since 1984 has also been blamed for much of the degradation of the glacier.[6]



Main article: Siachen Conflict
The glacier's region is the highest battleground on earth, where India and Pakistan have fought intermittently since April 1984. Both countries maintain permanent military personnel in the region at a height of over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). The site is a prime example of mountain warfare.

Both sides have been wishing to disengage from the costly military outposts but after the Kargil War in 1999, India has backed off from withdrawing in Siachen, wary that the Kargil scenario could play out again if they vacate their Siachen Glacier posts without any official confirmation of their positions.

During her tenure as Prime Minister of Pakistan, Ms Benazir Bhutto, visited the area west of Gyong La, making her the first premier from either side to get to the Siachen region. On June 12, 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the area, calling for a peaceful resolution of the problem. In the previous year, the President of India, Abdul Kalam became the first head of state to visit the area.

India based Jet Airways plans to open a chartered service to the glacier's nearest airlink, the Thoise airbase, mainly for military purposes. Pakistan's PIA flies tourists and trekkers daily to Skardu, which is the jumping off point for K2, the world's second highest point just 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) northwest of the Siachen area, although bad weather frequently grounds these scheduled flights.

Since September 2007, India has opened up mountaineering and trekking expeditions to the forbidding glacial heights. The expeditions are also meant to show to the international audience that Indian troops hold "almost all dominating heights" on the important Saltoro Ridge and, to show that Pakistani troops are not within 15 miles (24 km) of the 43.5-mile (70 km) Siachen Glacier.[7] Despite protests from Pakistan, India maintains that it doesn't need Pakistan's approval to send trekkers to Siachen, in what it says is essentially an Indian territory.

Coordinates: 35°30′N 77°00′E / 35.5°N 77.0°E / 35.5; 77.0
 

shiv

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operation meghdoot

Operation Meghdoot was the name given to the attack launched by the Indian Military to capture the Siachen Glacier in the disputed Kashmir region, precipitating the Siachen Conflict. Launched on April 13, 1984, this military operation was unique as the first assault launched in the world's highest battlefield. The military action eventually resulted in Indian troops managing to gain control of the entire Siachen Glacier.

The Indian Military decided to take action to stop future expeditions from the Pakistani side and eventually to prevent Pakistan from staking its claim on the glacier. Accordingly, the Indian military brought to the glacier area troops from Northern Ladakh region as well as some paramilitary forces. Most of the troops had already been acclimatized to the extremities of the glacier after having been sent on a training expedition to Antarctica in 1982. Pakistan, meanwhile, felt that the Indians were planning to capture key ridges and passes near the glacier after the Indian Army's mountaineering expedition and accordingly decided to send its own troops to the glacier. However, according to one retired Pakistani colonel, Islamabad ordered Arctic-weather gear from the same London suppliers from whom the Indians sourced their outfits. The Indians were soon informed about this development and immediately put their plan into action, providing them the all-important head start.

On April 13, 1984, the Indian Army made its move onto the glacier to defend the territory and the peaks and passes around it when it launched "Operation Meghdoot". The operation was launched under the command of Lieutenant General P N Hoon, the then army commander of the Indian Army's Northern Command based at Udhampur in Jammu & Kashmir state of India. The operation was also based on intelligence inputs that Pakistan was also preparing for an action in these areas. Reportedly the operation pre empted Pakistani Army by about 4 days, as intelligence reported that Pakistan was to launch an operation on 17 April 1984. Named after the divine cloud messenger (Meghaduuta) in a Sanskrit play, the operation involved the airlifting of Indian Army soldiers by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and dropping them in the glacial area. The IAF used planes such as the Il-76, An-12 and An-32 to transport stores and troops as well to airdrop supplies to high altitude airfields. Helicopters like Mi-17, Mi-8, Chetak and Cheetah carried provisions and personnel to areas near hitherto unscaled peaks. Approximately 300 troops were soon up on the important peaks and passes of the glacier. By the time Pakistan troops managed to get into the immediate area, they found that the Indian troops had occupied the major mountain passes on the Saltoro Ridge west of Siachen Glacier. Handicapped by the altitude and the limited time, Pakistan could only manage to control the Saltoro Ridge's western slopes and foothills despite the fact that Pakistan possessed more accessible routes to the area, unlike Indian access to the Siachen which was largely reliant on air drops.

In his memoirs, former Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf states that Pakistan lost almost 2,331 km² (900 mi²) of territory.[5] TIME states that the Indian advance captured nearly 1,000 sq mi (2,600 km2). of territory claimed by Pakistan.[6] Camps were soon converted to permanent posts by both countries. The number of casualties on both sides during this particular operation is not known.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Meghdoot
 

Mohan

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Why are the Soldiers wearing dark pants and some the regular uniform. When there is white snow all over there
 

Yusuf

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Salute and thank the brave soldiers of India on the 25th anniversary of the takeover of Siachen and holding it for all these years dispite all odds and adverse conditions.
 

Daredevil

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We should let more people to trek in Siachen. It will be a revenue earner.
 

EnlightenedMonk

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We should let more people to trek in Siachen. It will be a revenue earner.
And a good adventure as well...

It'll be a good statement to the Pakistanis as to who really runs and controls the place...
 

Pintu

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I salute the brave soldiers of Mother India who are guarding the frontiers despite all the odds and harsh climate. Salute to the brave jawans.


A question , I have heard that our soldiers use solar power for energy and cooking . Anybody can throw some light on it ?
 

Yusuf

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We should let more people to trek in Siachen. It will be a revenue earner.
India just took a CR tourists out there and the Pakistanis started crying. If we start trekking and make money from it, all the tissues in the world won't be enough for the Pakistanis.
 

Flint

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An old article from Oct'08. Hope the date won't detract from its value.

At Siachen, casualties come to all time low
Manu Pubby Posted: Saturday , Oct 11, 2008 at 0112 hrs IST


Siachen Base Camp, October 10:

It is a sad day at the Siachen base camp. A soldier died at the Kaziranga post on the glacier two days ago and his body has still not been brought down due to bad weather and heavy snowfall. A Cheetah helicopter has been flying daily from base camp to the post, but has not been able to land and pick up the body.

Despite a rigorous selection procedure and extensive medical examinations before the posting, the soldier suffered a heart attack. Another one, doctors say, of the unpredictables while serving at extreme altitudes.


While days like these bring out the cost India is paying for maintaining troops at the highest battlefield in the world, casualty rates at the Siachen glacier have come down to an all time low.


Casualties peaked to almost 70 per year during the 1999 Kargil war, but the rate has come down to single digit in the past two years. New equipment, better medical facilities, faster evacuations and the ceasefire agreement has brought down fatality rates in the glacier to about four a year.


Till 2003, before the ceasefire agreement came into place, the Army was losing close to 30 soldiers on the glacier every year. The figure went down to 10 a year after the agreement. However, heavy snowfall and the 2006 earthquake raised the casualties to 26 that year.


The past two years have, however, been stable. The Army lost four men on the glacier in 2007 — two cases of medical complications and two pilots who died in a helicopter crash on the LoC. This year, four soldiers have died on the glacier, again mainly due to medical complications.


http://www.indianexpress.com/news/at-siachen-casualties-come-to-all-time-low/371914/
 

nitesh

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