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Life at Siachen : World’s Highest Battlefield

SIACHEN : World’s Coldest and Highest Battlefield

– 45°C to -60° C; it’s not a Joke Peeps! This temperature can make your bones go freeze and for Siachen, it’s a normal one.

About

“Sia” in the Balti language refers to the rose family plant which is widely dispersed in the region. “Chun” refers to any object found in abundance. Thus the name ‘Siachen’ refers to land with an abundance of roses. The naming of the glacier itself and its currency is attributed to Tom Longstaff.

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Siachen Glacier

The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas at about 35.421226°N 77.109540° E. It’s just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends. At 76 km (47 mi) long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world’s non-polar areas.



The entire Siachen Glacier and with all major passes is currently under the administration of India since 1984. Pakistan controls the region west of Saltoro Ridge far away from the glacier with Pakistani posts located 3,000 ft below more than 100 Indian posts on Saltoro Ridge.

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The Siachen base camp is at an average altitude of 20,000 feet. It’s the Highest Battlefield in the world. It is also one of the coldest battlefields in the world.

Our Indian Soldiers have to battle frostbite and icy winds often in that area. Avalanche and landslides are common at the glacier and the temperatures drop to minus 60 degrees.

The Siachen Glacier lies immediately south of the great drainage divide that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Indian subcontinent. It is in the extensively glaciated portion of the Karakoram 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 average winter snowfall is more than 1000 cm (35 ft) and temperatures can dip to −50 °C (−58 °F).

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Civilians Visit

Civilians are usually not allowed to go beyond Panamik which is a small village in the Nubra Valley famous for its hot sulphur springs. The annual Siachen civilian trek organised by the Indian Army gives civilians a mere chance to trek up to the icy heights of the glacier.

Why Siachen is important?

Let me tell you one truth that the operational cost of Siachen is around 5 crore rupees per day and there are people who believe that India should not have troops in Siachen. But whenever Pakistan asks for a peace treaty he keeps Siachen for the question always.

Siachen is strategically a very important post for the Indian army. Pakistan lost it and tried to attack Siachen again and again but sent back every time. Our Indian Soldiers are eveready to protect it from the enemies.

Former Chief of Indian army Gen Bikram Singh stated regarding Siachen-

“As long as the glacier is under India’s control, the Pakistani army can’t link up with the Chinese and pose a threat to Ladakh. It acts as a wedge between the Shaksgam valley under Chinese control and Baltistan, which is occupied by Pakistan. ”

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Siachen is the only piece that keeps Chinese and Pakistanis to openly attack India at its north. And also it stops the enemies from attacking Kashmir and Ladakh

In 1984 our Army received confirmed report by the intelligence of Pakistani army attacking Siachen. The army without any delay started Operation Meghdoot and before the Pakistani army reached Siachen, Indian troops covered all the posts.

Indian army occupied the Saltoro Ridges which runs parallel to the Siachen glaciers on its western side. This has been the actual line of control since then.

Lastly after winning Siachen at Operation Meghdoot
Pakistan cannot actually attack it and win, hence they choose a much easier option of talking on the table & paper and negotiating.

SIACHEN in News Recently 

The video of the soldiers has been widely shared on Twitter with people saluting the soldiers for their grit and endurance. Here ‘s the video –

It can be clearly shown by the soldier that in tough weather conditions what happens to the food. The Juice Packet becomes a Frozen Brick, The Eggs and Potatoes are like Stones, therefore, making very hard to survive and eat there.

Making simple Dal Chawal is a big deal for our Indian Army Soldiers.

“Life in Siachen glacier for soldiers: juice frozen to a brick and hammer needed to break eggs, but their smile is not lost in such dire circumstances. ” – One Twitter User wrote on the above video.

Life at SIACHEN 

In heavy icy storms, it’s Zero Visibility at the SIACHEN Base Camp and it lasts for more than 4 weeks sometimes. Our Indian Army Soldiers often face the lack of Oxygen there ( 10% Only ) and Blood Clots are the main reason for one’s ending up dying in Siachen.

It literally takes 4 hours to heat just a small bucket of water, therefore, making difficult to consume and swallow. Furthermore, to you have to poop in open and no possibility of him returning back.

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Not only Memory Loss, Lung Infection, Speech Blurring, Hearing Voices, Frost Bite but also Blood Clotting, Low Oxygen Level are very common problems occurring in that region. Also, the soldiers get to call their home once every two weeks.

My father once told me the story when he was posted there – ” At the times the condition there is so horrible that the military personnel staying there when used to pee; it used to get frozen the moment it is out. Besides then they had to break their piss and throw it away 😉 ” This is the level of cold there that the urine you do gets frozen in seconds.

There is a War Memorial in SIACHEN for those who lost their life for the nation.

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Hats Off to them in facing such difficulties and protecting our borders.

Ranvijay Tanwar
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