Eccentric case of -60° C & Avalanche: Saga of Indian soldier’s life in world’s highest battlefield
New Year is approaching and within a few days, the Northern part of the country would come under the grip of the coldest month of the year, January. While winters are yet to hit its peak, last few days have rather been about cold-waves, bringing the mercury down to as low as 10 C in North Indian states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Harayana, etc.
The national capital, in general, continues to shiver and as per Regional Meteorological Centre, the temperature was the second-lowest since 1992. Where, on one hand, people are taking every precautionary measure to prevent themselves from catching cold at just 10°c, on the other, we have our soldiers protecting the nation in conditions 10 times harsher than this. One of it is Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield. It is the same place where eggs and tomatoes turn into stones.
Due to sub-zero temperatures that dip below -60 degrees, coupled with the constant threat of avalanches, crevasses, life is tough at the Siachen glacier. Leave alone fighting and keeping a constant check on the potential threats, a common man wouldn’t even be able to sleep in such conditions.
Importance of Siachen:
The glacier demarcates Central Asia from the Indian subcontinent and separates two of its neighbors China and Pakistan. The Saltoro Ridge of the Siachen glacier serves as a divide that prevents direct linking of POK with China, stopping them from developing geographical linkages in the area. “India already faces a huge threat from China Occupied Aksai Chin, and if it weren’t for Indian Army, Pakistan would have gained the location advantage here,” says Sanjay Dalmia, who is a renowned nationalist and a proud Indian.
He further adds, “Our soldiers continue to lose their lives protecting the glacier from Pakistani sponsored terrorism and just a few days ago, six people, including four Indian Army personnel and two civilian porters, were killed. This shows how difficult the conditions are up there and how we Indians must be respectful and show our gratitude towards such remarkable valor.”
Additionally, soldiers deployed in the area are affected by a number of fatal altitude-related ailments like frostbite, hypoxia, hypothermia and white out.
The Legend who secured Siachen for India:
Pakistan was first to see the potential of this strategically-important unoccupied area and had it not for one exemplary and intelligent effort, India would have lost out on a great strategic point. It was owing to the mountaineering experience and sensibility that Colonel Narendra Kumar was able to gain control of the glacier. He is also known as “Bull” Kumar in the world of the Indian Armed Forces. One of the key installations in Siachen is named Kumar Base after him.
Amidst such uncertainties and difficulties, our Veer Jawans are stationed so that our countrymen can remain safe and live peacefully. This selfless, never dying attitude is what makes a soldier, a man of principles.
“You have never lived until you have almost died, And for those who choose to fight, Life has a special favor, The protected will never know!!!”- Capt. R Subramanium Kriti Chakra (Posth).