Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Siachen - World HIghest Battleground

Siachen Glaciers, the worlds highest battleground is located in the East Karakoram / Himalayan region. The coordinates for Siachen can be approximated as 35.5 degrees North and 76.9 degrees East. Situated at an altitude of approximately 17700 feet or 5400 meters above sea level, Siachen is one of the five largest glaciers in Karakoram ranges.

Siachen has always been a hot property when it comes to India and Pakistan as most of the Glacier is located in the LOC region.  Though as per Karachi Agreement (1949) and Shimla Agreement (1972) it was agreed between India and Pakistan to not maintain a Military base at that height and those extreme climate, but Pakistan's obsession with Kashmir and increasing Friendship with China created a situation that forced India to launch Operation Meghdoot in April 1984.  It is interesting that Pakistan tries to highlight that India breached the lines of Agreement, whereas in reality, Pakistan Army forced Indian Army to launch the mission to build base on Siachen. Pakistan Army used to Sit atop the Glacier and launch unprovoked Shelling on Indian troops moving towards the Northern Ladakh fronts. So to end the Agony and Pain caused due to the Loss of Soldiers and other Army Supplies, India launched the mentioned Operation.

By sending troops from Kumaon Regiment in April, prematurely in mountaineering parlance, India wrested the initiative from Pakistan which had planned to send its soldiers sometime later in May 1984. By the time Pakistan could respond with troop deployment, the Indian Army was already ensconced on the heights, with the Indian Air Force ensuring air supply. However, there began the race to the top of the world to capture more and more part of the Glacier.  From then on till 2003 when the Cease Fire was declare at Siachen, both Army's lost many brave soldiers due to cross-fire as well as extreme climatic conditions.  Since 2003, there is a sort of Official Cease Fire, but the fact is known only to the two armies :).

The current scenario at Siachen, 28 years from April 1984, Pakistani Army occupies one Important pass "Gyong La Pass" on the Glacier which cuts off the Indian Access to K2 and other surrounding peaks.  However, most of the Higher Peaks and Passes are Occupied by the Indian Army.  And by far the Indian Army has only expended its base, presence and occupation the heights by gaining territory in the process and now controlling 2/3rd of the Glacier. Indian Air Force has also increased its expertise and experience in maintaining troops at those heights with indigenously Choppers being used for continuous supplies. Interestingly these choppers are supposed to be the only choppers in the world to reach such heights (in excess of 21000 ft above sea level. The Sonam Airbase has the highest helipad in the world) . On the Contrary, Pakistan has built roads and paths to its positions and bases across the Glacier. 

Though Both India and Pakistan are fighting it out for the control of Glacier, Pakistan's hold to Gyong La Pass holds a strategic importance for both as the Pass overlooks Nubra and Shyok Valleys and India's Access to Leh District (The one reason why India Needed to be at vantage position on the Glacier).  I would pray for the day when India captures the Gyong La Pass and the conflict of Siachen Ends......

The twist of the  tale is "Pakistan can't climb up any more" and "India can't climb Down from its vantage position".  
The Thoughts as composed after reading the various posts might look somewhat sketchy, but I would surely re-work on the same in due course of time and ensure that this post is improved from where it stands today.....

1 comment:

  1. I really miss the days when we were all ready to March for the third pass