Should troops be withdrawn from Siachen?
Should troops be withdrawn from Siachen?Introduction:
Indian Army base camp in Siachen is world’s highest and coldest active war zone. The Siachen glaciers have never been friendly but our chivalrous soldiers never let their guards down, protecting us from the traitorous not-so-friendly neighbor, Pakistan.
For the past 18 years the Indian Army has held the tricolor high despite the difficulties of extreme weather conditions. The natural hazards in the Glacier Mountains seems to have claimed more lives than battle with Pakistan. Both the countries lost men but none are going to back down.
When the recent avalanche in Siachen became the reason for the death of 10 Indian soldiers, the country demanded that troops should be withdrawn from Siachen since living and fighting under such extreme weather conditions is a suicide mission. But a step backwards from Siachen would take away everything that our martyrs died for.
1. Extremities of weather: The temperature is usually below -50 degree Celsius, the kind of cold in which touching metal with bare hands can cause severe frost bite within a few seconds. Army men can operate guns and artillery only while wearing anti-frostbite gloves.Sweat in gloves also freezes to become ice which can lead to some serious cases of amputation. Prolonged usage of oxygen mask creates difficulties of hearing, eyesight, memory and other illness.
2. Accommodation difficulties: Soldiers stuck in avalanche have to live for weeks in igloos made of fiberglass panels. Too many soldiers have to somehow adjust in one such igloo where they use kerosene stoves to keep themselves warm. Kerosene smoke inside igloos is not good for anyone’s health. Even hot water bottles don’t stay warm for long. There is no sleep in such cold which makes the soldiers sleep deprived leading to various problems later.
3. Lack of food: Transporting fresh food to an altitude of 21,000 feet is no easy job even with the help of helicopters that have to usually drop canned food. Whatever food reaches them usually frozen into a hard lump including fruits that cannot be warmed back. When food is dropped from helicopters, they sometimes get swallowed by bad weather. Lack of proper food, shelter and warmth makes living conditions of our soldiers extremely difficult.
4. Combat difficulties: With horrifying wind shielding the view and show that can camouflage approaching target, mortar shelling is exceedingly capricious. Guns and bullets freeze and get jammed very often. It is a war with men and with nature – no one predicting which of them would attack when. Holding the position of safeguarding the territory from enemy while fighting extremities and avalanches of nature is a big challenge that leads of loss of life.
5. Keeping their ground clear: Along with keeping the ground clear, the soldiers at Siachen have to keep their area cleared with shovels and light machinery to prevent their posts from being engulfed by the deadly snow. The storms last half of the year and lack of oxygen leads of various types of impairments in soldiers who are brought down to base camps. Pakistan claims that the presence of Indian soldiers and usage of machineries in Siachen is harmful to the environment, basically damaging the glaciers which is one of the largest source of water to Pakistan.
6. A war with no end: Our Indian army holds the higher regions of the Siachen while the Pakistani army has their claws hooked to the lower areas around Siachen. Neither our soldiers can go down, nor would they dare to come up. This is a war that has no end. More lives here are lost due to avalanche and extremities of nature rather than combats. We must look for other options through talks with Pakistan instead of putting the precious lives of our brave soldiers at stake.
1. National security: As soon as India withdraws its troops from Siachen, the traitorous Pakistani armies would take out the areas and the adjoining passes that our soldiers fought for, died and rescued in all these years. Not only will they capture these regions, they have it in them to extend beyond the lines in a disloyal way. It would be more like opening the gates for more terrorists to flow into our nation from these areas where there be no stopping them once the military is withdrawn.
2. Improved amenities: Defense ministry has clarified that over the years casualties in Siachen have considerably lowered owing to better amenities and facilities made available to the soldiers serving in these extreme locations. With better equipment and technological facilities safety can be created to some extent if not complete. Defense ministry will device more amenities for them in times to come to lower such casualties to a great extent.
3. Natural catastrophe: Withdrawing troops from Siachen due to the recent avalanche would not be appropriate. It was a natural disaster that also happens with mountaineers climbing the Everest each year. Nature is unpredictable and safety of the nature cannot be compromised owing to them. It was a major avalanche that claimed the lives of the 10 soldiers and not regular weather conditions or frostbites. The Siachen conflict cannot be resolved just by withdrawing troops unless both the countries reach upon mutual understanding and Pakistan keeps its promise of not violating ceasefires.
4. The highest Battlefield cannot be abandoned just like that: The world’s highest battlefield cannot just be abandoned without any truce that is bound to keep Pakistani militants from invading our country time and again. It won’t be a proper analysis to do so at this time. The Siachen could definitely be converted into a peace mountain if peace actually prevails between the two nations.
“Quartered in snow, silent to remain, when the bugle calls, they shall rise and march again” reads the stone memorial at the Indian Army base camp in Siachen. There is no short of brave hearts in our nation, willing to volunteer at Siachen with determination of protecting our land from the double-crossing neighbor but the defense ministry has to come up with an alternative instead of sacrificing their lives in extreme cold and natural disasters that are a regular visitor in the region.
Both the nations have to reach upon a conclusion and convert Siachen into a “peace mountain” with no loopholes for violations of treaties and backstabbing. The gallant Indian Army in white will always be ready to sacrifice their lives to protect the nation but in turn the nation must also care for their wellbeing and make amendments to provide them safety.
- RE: Should troops be withdrawn from Siachen? -Chinmoy (02/14/16)
- Recalling the troops from the world highest battlefield would definitely be a blunder.It is because even if India and Pakistan come together to resolve the issue there will be militant group who would jump out at the offer of siachen being defenseless and would find a gateway to enter india. A gate that has no guards,it will be like a gold mine for the terrorist group.The one thing our government can do is to improve the facilities there.
- RE: Should troops be withdrawn from Siachen? -Chinmoy (02/14/16)
- Recalling the troops from the world highest battlefield would definitely be a blunder.It is because even if India and Pakistan come together to resolve the issue there will be militant group who would jump out at the offer of siachen being defenseless and would find a gateway to enter india. A gate that has no guards,it will be like a gold mine for the terrorist group.
- RE: Should troops be withdrawn from Siachen? -sunil kumar yadav (02/09/16)
- I am slightly disagree with the conclusion given. we should not forget the consequences of kargil war that the Pakistani infiltrator has occupied the indian post and was trying to retreat Indian troops after winter season. a vigil of jawan should remain there to protect our north western part of India. it is also to mention that LAC between both country is not mark till date due to disputed area so our presence at border like siachin would be 24x7. but the basic need is to improve basic infrastructure and amenities like electrified all remote post with solar power and construct post on the theory of iglaa other medical facility. we can not compromise with our security whether it will be in winter or in summary season. and apart from this we should enhance our metro logical data response and act as required by situation.