Recently, ten soldiers (one JCO and nine jawans of the 19th Madras battalion) were buried alive in an avalanche at Siachen glacier at a height of 19,600 feet in eastern Ladakh, the world’s highest battlefield, in an unfortunate event.
Parrikar said that while casualties have come down in recent years due to improved facilities at the glacier, the ice fall was an unpredictable show of nature’s strength and little could have been done to prevent it.
Every year, a lot of soldiers lose their lives on both Pakistani and Indian sides. In 2011, 24 Indian soldiers died due to climatic conditions and related accidents. In April 2012, Pakistan lost 140 personnel when an avalanche hit one military sector Head Quarter.
From the launch of Operation Meghdoot to take the control of the strategically vital glacier in 1984 till December 2015, over 869 Indian Army personnel have lost their lives on the Siachen due to climatic conditions.
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control (LoC) ends. As both India and Pakistan have claim over it, the stretch of snow is called the world’s highest battlefield.
Siachen has recently been disdainfully described as ‘A struggle of two bald men over a comb’ or ‘an ego problem between the two armies.’ Several experts have questioned the need for maintaining armies on the glacier with such high casualties and cost.
Prior to 1984, neither India nor Pakistan had any military forces in this area.
Indian troops sit at vantage points on the Saltoro ridge as compared to Pakistan on its west, but holding high ground involves great sacrifice of life and limb. And there are many strategic reasons for it.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar visits Siachen Glacier.chinditsdefence