Siachen shares two boundaries with Pakistan & China. Siachen is located in the Karakoram Range in the North West India.  It’s a strategic point which provides a easy entry to India if not guarded. The battle of Rezang la fought by Indian army against China is even today considered as one of the most brutal battle and the success of Major Saithan Singh can never the forgotten. The story of battle of Rezang la shows unbeatable courage of Indian army. The strategy in battle Rezang la is even today spoken at various army training centres across the world. The battle of Rezang la not only speaks about the courage displayed by Indian army but also tell the deadly environment of Siachen.
Siachen Glacier is 76.4 Kms long and covers about 10,000 Sq km uninhabited terrain. The terrain is so dangerous that it is unimaginable for human habitation, Siachen is the worlds highest battle field and Indian army is the only army to be guarding a land at this height. In 1974, Pakistan announced starting a mountaineering expeditions into Siachen Glacier but later the intelligence team discovered that Pakistan’s intentions were more dangerous then what it looked, in 1983 India deployed heavy military presence in Siachen, the military patrol remained 24/7  and all round the year.
On 13 Apr 1984, a Platoon of 4 KUMAON led by then Capt Sanjay Kulkarni (Now Lt Gen (Retd)) planted the first Indian Flag on Siachen Glacier at Bilafond La which began Operation MEGHDOOT.  For the last 33 yrs, Indian troops have been deployed on the World’s highest and coldest battlefield and are safeguarding the Nations frontiers in extreme cold climate of minus 40 to 50 degrees Celsius.
It’s scientifically proven that a normal human being cannot survive in this terrine & work at these extreme altitudes. The Siachen Glacier presents a unique set of environmental challenges for human body and is one of the toughest call of duty for Indian soldiers. Low oxygen, increase in Blood Pressure due to reduced barometric pressure at high altitude, extreme cold, high levels of ultraviolet radiation & low humidity are some of the adversities that human body has to endeavor in Siachen.
Every Soldier has to serve in Siachen during his tenure he is isolated from civilisation for 6 months. To survive at at this altitudes (upto 21000 feet) in isolated posts, requires a great amount of physical courage, mental stamina and nerves of steel.  However Indian army has been guarding this place with a lot of passion, a passion which no other army in the world can display.  This only goes onto show the love Indian army has towards mother India. You don’t need enemies to kill the soldiers guarding this place, the temperature and the terrain itself is so deadly.
During winter the temperature here drops below minus 40 degrees Celsius. A temperature where blood starts freezing and brain stops functioning. High altitude combined with low temperature and Glaciation, frequently results in blizzards with wind speeds in excess of 100 knots. The visibility drops to zero in addition to high velocity and chilly winds.  The unpredictable and frequent avalanches are among the greatest threats which the soldiers face in the region.
During summer the ice starts breaking up and there is higher chance that of a soldier slipping down the shallow 100 feet, many soldiers have lost their life with just one wrong step. I believe no other army in the world would dare to guard a place like Siachen.

After 33 yrs of Operation MEGHDOOT; the Indian Army’s longest deployment on strategically located Siachen Glacier continues. This is a saga of unmatched bravery, heroism, courage and sacrifice on the world’s highest and coldest battle field. The dauntless courage and willpower of Indian Army has ensured that the Tri Colour keeps flying at the Northernmost part of the Nation with pride.


Tasleem Ibrahim

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