Siachen Glacier : The Highest battleground on Earth

F-14

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Siachen Glacier : the Eternal battle

the Battle for the Siachen Glacier known to Indians as Operation Meghdoot has been raging on for the past 45 years
The Siachen Glacier became a bone of contention following a vague demarcation of territory as per the Simla Agreement of 1972, which did not exactly specify who had authority over the Siachen Glacier area. As a result of this, both nations lay claim to the barren land. In the 1970s and early 80s, Pakistan permitted several mountaineering expeditions to climb the peaks in the Siachen region. This served to reinforce their claim on the area as these expeditions arrived on the glacier with a permit obtained from the Government of Pakistan. Indian sources claim that in many cases a liaison officer from the Pakistan army accompanied the teams. In 1978 the Indian Army began closely monitoring the situation in the region and concurrently India also allowed mountaineering expeditions to the glacier, approaching from its side. The most notable one was the one launched by Colonel N. Kumar of the Indian Army, who mounted an Army expedition to Teram Kangri as a counter-exercise.

When Pakistan gave permission to a Japanese expedition to scale an important peak (Rimo I) in 1984, it further prompted Indian anger. The peak, located east of the Siachen Glacier, also overlooks the northwestern areas of the Aksai Chin area which is occupied by China but claimed by India. The Indian military believed that such an expedition could further a link for a trade route from the southwestern (Pakistani) to the northeastern (Chinese) side of the Karakoram Range and eventually provide a strategic, if not tactical, advantage to the Pakistan Military.
Operation Meghdoot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Operations were launched on April 13, 1984 Involving battalions of the Ladhak scouts and the Kunkoum Regiment the Indian Army made its move onto the glacier to defend the territory and the peaks and passes around it when it launched The operation 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 4days the Preparation for this the Indian Army had 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. a major blunder committed by the PA is that It ordered Arctic-weather gear from the same London suppliers from whom the we sourced our outfits. from after being informed of Pakistani plans for the glacier the Indian Army launched the Operation 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

OP vijay

SIACHEN GLACIER – 23 SEPTEMBER 1987

23rd September 1987 is an important day in the history of Siachen when Pakistan’s No. 1 & No. 3 Commando Battalions of the Special Service Group (SSG), along with No 2 Northern Light Infantry (NLI) Battalion of the FCNA, attacked an Indian post, on the Northern shoulder of the Bilafond La pass. The post at an altitude of 19,000 feet, at the time of attack was occupied by only eight men. It was this section that successfully defeated an enemy brigade sized force, creating history of sorts in the annals of military warfare. The attack carried out from 23-25 September 1987, with temperatures dipping to a low of minus 30 degrees Celsius was repeatedly repulsed. The operation codenamed ‘OP QIADAT’ by the Pakistan Army and ‘OP VAJRASHAKTI’ by the Indian Army was a sequel to an earlier operation nicknamed ‘OP RAJIV’, launched three months earlier, when Pakistan lost their ‘Quaid Post’ located at the Southern shoulder of Bilafond La, at a height of 22,000 feet, to the troops of 8 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) and the post was renamed ‘Bana Post’.

As per Pakistani reports and signal intercepts, the enemy suffered close to 300 soldiers dead. While Naib Subedar Bana Singh was awarded. the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for ‘OP RAJIV’, Capt Iqbal of the Pakistan Army was awarded Hilal-i Jur’at (HJ), posthumously for ‘OP QIADAT’ There was wide media coverage of these operations in September and October 1987 but with the passage of time the sacrifices made have since been forgotten…

It was precisely at 5.55 a.m. on 23rd September, when the brave, young and courageous men of Pakistan’s elite SSG, launched their attack on the Indian posts of Ashok and U-Cut, referred to as Rana and Akbar Posts by the Pakistanis. They were appropriately welcomed by Nb Sub Lekh Raj along with seven other men. The numbers swelled, but brave Lekh Raj kept assuring that nothing would happen to the post as long as he was alive. It was not more than 15 minutes after he spoke to me over the radio set when a TOW missile fired from the enemy fire base established at ‘Rahber-II’ hit the bunker and killed the JCO instantaneously along with two other men. The situation became rather precarious with only five men left on the post but these brave men fought gallantly and the enemy wisely retraced their steps toward their Rahber and Tabish Posts in the rear. Capt Nazareth, the young Pakistani officer, who led the initial assault on the Indian post, was subsequently joined by Captains Rashid, Cheema, Akbar, Imran, Mohammad Iqbal seconded from the Army Service Corps to the Commando force and Naib Subedar Sher Bahadur. Captain Sartaj Wali, the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) was moved forward to attend to the casualties.

As expected, the Pakistanis resumed their misadventure after darkness on 23rd. Their Company Commander Maj Rana was in touch with his battalion commander over the radio set. It was pitch dark, yet the enemy movement was noticed and accurate fire was brought down on them from the only mortar deployed just behind Ashok post and the aerial bursts of rocket launchers fired from Sonam were extremely effective. The attack developed a crescendo by 3.00 a.m. and suddenly there was a pause and I intercepted a message from Captain Rashid to some senior officer in the rear “We are waiting for two hours and the ropes have not fetched up yet, we will be day lighted. Cheema is dead and many are injured badly, please send reinforcements.” Their morale was low and we knew that they would not pursue the attack any further till at least the following night. On the Indian side Maj Chatterjee along with a mixed command of JAK LI and GR troops moved about the whole night motivating his men under heavy and accurate artillery fire The white sheet of ice was blackened with shelling and our pub tents and parachutes, on the ice surface were shredded with shrapnel and the mini camp at Sonam and Bana Top, where I was located, had craters all around. The sight, though scary, was spectacular with the pot holes making a distinct design on the whiteness around our abode.

The enemy resumed his attack on the night of 24th September, i.e. his third night of exposure. This time Captains Rashid and Iqbal led the assault and came very close to the top. The reinforcements promised by the Company and Battalion Commanders had not arrived and they had suffered very heavily and were tired and exhausted. It was close to midnight that I heard Rashid tell his superior officer, “Wherever I move the enemy fires at me” and prompt came the reply “The kafirs have got hold of our radio frequencies and are monitoring them, all troops switch to alternate frequencies.” There was a pause and then Rashid resumes his conversation, “Sir, we are not carrying our alternate frequencies and all are teams have left the base.” After a while there was another conversation intercepted “Rashid has been killed and the reinforcements have not reached, tell these seniors to come forward and see for them selves. They are safe in their bunkers and care little for us.” That was a good indicator, and we knew that the battle had been won.

Such was the story of the battle of Bilafond La, a battle of nerves and guts with no real winners but only losers. When will this fight end? The answer remains, till we shed our egos and ambitions.

Well fought red —Blue the winner.”
Op Rajeev – A Battle that broke Pakistan’s adventurism on the Glacier Cosmic Warrior

The operation and the continued cost of maintaining logistics to the area is a major drain on both militaries. Pakistan launched an all out assault in 1987 and again in 1989 to capture the ridge and passes held by India. The first assault was headed by Pervez Musharraf (later President of Pakistan) and initially managed to capture a few high points before being beaten back. Later the same year, Pakistan lost at least one major Pakistani post, the "Quaid", which came under Indian control as Bana Post, in recognition of Subedar Major Bana Singh who launched a daring daylight attack, codenamed "Operation Rajiv", after climbing 1,500 ft (460 m) ice cliff. The only Param Vir Chakra (PVC) — the highest gallantry award of India — in the ongoing battle was awarded to then Naib Subedar Bana Singh who was instrumental in capturing the post. Bana Post is the highest battlefield post in the world today at a height of 22,143 feet (6,749 m) above sea level. The second assault in 1989 was also unsuccessful as the ground positions did not change. The loss of most of the Siachen area and the subsequent unsuccessful military forays prompted Benazir Bhutto to taunt Zia ul Haq that he should wear a burqa as he had lost his manliness.

Operation Meghdoot was seen by some as the blueprint behind the Kargil War in 1999 when Pakistan backed guerillas and paramilitary forces covertly occupied the Kargil region. It is said that Operation Meghdoot was the inspiration for this abortive operation in Kargil launched by Pakistan later in 1999. Despite this, some obvious similarities do exist between Siachen and Kargil, including their preemptive nature and the tactical advantage held by the entity who holds the heights. But while Operation Meghdoot was launched in an area of ambiguous border demarcation, the Line of Control in the Kargil region is clearly demarcated and therefore India received complete international support during the Kargil episode.
Operation Meghdoot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Siachen Glacier, Ladakh and Karakoram areas




Satellite view of the Siachen Glacier, Kashmir
 

RPK

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Avalanche kills 8 soldiers in Siachen glacier

http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=98287

SIACHEN: Eight soldiers embraced martyrdom when an avalanche hit a military camp at Siachin glacier.

According to sources, the soldiers were discharging their duties according to the schedule when an avalanche struck a military post at Bevan sector.

The bodies of the martyred soldiers were pulled out of the avalanche.

They will be laid to rest in their respective areas with complete military honor.
 

john70

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India Will Not Leave Siachen

India Will Not Leave Siachen Thursday, April 12, 2012 By : Defence News Admin

The horrifying tragedy of Pakistani soldiers who got buried under an avalanche in Siachen is very much unlikely to affect India's decision to station a permanent military base there. The horrifying tragedy of Pakistani soldiers who got buried under an avalanche in Siachen is very much unlikely to affect India's decision to station a permanent military base there.

New Delhi is still considering to try and check if there is any room for flexibility on the matter. It costs millions of dollars to station troops in the worlds highest battlefield and New Delhi is not short of funds at all.

Last week an avalanche destroyed a Pakistani army camp in the Gayari sector highlighting the enormous difficulties faced by the two armies in sustaining thousands of troops.

Pakistan is clearly paying a heavy price to maintain their troops at that altitude with the loss of hundreds of lives and spending millions of dollars at a time when their economy is in the worst state since they gained independence.

It is to be noted that Pakistan has no presence in the Siachen glacier as it's troops are stationed on the other side of the Saltoro Ridge. India is not and should not withdraw it's troops from the ridge until Pakistan guarantees to authenticate the Actual Ground Position Line on the map as well as on the ground. Pakistan is not willing to give such a guarantee and so it is very hard for India to believe anything that Pakistan says about Siachen.

Pakistan is in a much weaker position to soften it's stand on the Siachen issue and might even be willing to authenticate the position of the troops as they exist today. The Indian troops are holding much higher ground and dominating positions in the region since 1984.
 

Ray

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If we vacate and the Pak Army takes it over stealthily, then there is no hope in hell to re-capture the same.

It takes 21 days to acclimatise to reach those heights and be operationally fit to fight a battle.

None can just jump in (even by air drop) and be operationally fit to fight a battle. Rarefied atmosphere and High Altitude effect!
 

Yusuf

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Kunal, can you get your mates and others to mobilize opinion to take an aggressive posture to negotiate wrt GB? We really need to mobilize opinion so that
1) govt does not sell out
2) we get back strategic land.

It has to be a national effort among people like us here to make sure our strategic objectives are achieved.
 

john70

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Kunal, can you get your mates and others to mobilize opinion to take an aggressive posture to negotiate wrt GB? We really need to mobilize opinion so that
1) govt does not sell out
2) we get back strategic land.

It has to be a national effort among people like us here to make sure our strategic objectives are achieved.
Is it really possible? Yusuf ... Do we have any say where it really matters, and if so yes than I am delighted to hear that this forum and its members have such an effect!!!
 

Ray

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There is no requirement to mobilise any opinion since the army will be quite clear about the same.

Last time MMS had said that it would be done, it could not be done, because the MO Dte was categorical and informed the Govt of the pros and cons.

These are all photo op stuff just to show there was 'great dialogue' even during Zardari's religious tourism!

All drama!
 

Yusuf

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Sir, I am more concerned about a sell out in Kashmir. MMS trying to find legacy. It cannot be at the expense of that vital link. Regardless of terrain or hostile people. Balwaristan is on the boil and looking for Indian help. We cannot compromise.
 

KS

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We have not lost a Soldier in 8 years over there, (touch wood), as far as we are concerned, that millions of dollars are worth it
That is not true.

Sure the casualties have gone down exponentially but some were indeed martyred.
 

Yusuf

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That is not true.

Sure the casualties have gone down exponentially but some were indeed martyred.
It is true mate. I posted it with link the other day. It's somewhere here in some thread
 

Blackwater

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We have not lost a Soldier in 8 years over there, (touch wood), as far as we are concerned, that millions of dollars are worth it
not true we are losing soldier regularly.. recently here was avalanche in our side we lost around 35 SOLDIERS
 

Galaxy

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Over 8,000 Indo-Pak soldiers killed in Siachen

Pakistan spends approximately Rs15 million a day to maintain three battalions at the Siachen Glacier, which makes Rs450 million a month and Rs5.4 billion a year. On the other hand, the deployment of seven battalions at the Glacier costs India Rs50 million a day, Rs1.5 billion a month and Rs30 billion a year.
On an average, defence experts say, one Pakistani soldier is killed every third day on the Siachen Glacier, showing approximately 100 casualties every year on an average. Similarly, one Indian soldier is killed every other day on the Siachen Glacier, at an annual average of 180 casualties. According to unofficial figures, over 3,000 Pakistani soldiers have lost their lives on the bloody Siachen Glacier between April 1984 and April 2012 as against over 5,000 Indian casualties. At present, there are approximately 7,000 Indian Army troops and about 4,000 Pakistani troops stationed at the Siachen Glacier.
Over 8,000 Indo-Pak soldiers killed in Siachen - thenews.com.pk


P.S.: Not sure, This is fact or not because news is from paki site.
 

Galaxy

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Kashmir's Siachen glacier a frigid outpost in India-Pakistan conflict

Kashmir's Siachen glacier a frigid outpost in India-Pakistan conflict - World - CBC News


Siachen standoff taking heavy environmental toll

An estimated 8,000 troops have died in the glacier's freezing wastes since conflict over the area flared in 1984. The cost of the operation is kept under wraps but Pakistani daily newspaper The News reported that Pakistan spends $60 million a year on Siachen and India more than $200 million.
 
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