Siachen glacier, Operation Meghdoot and battle between Indo - Pak armies

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Operation Meghdoot is the brave story of Indian soldiers of capturing the Siachen Glacier, the tallest and the coldest battlefield in the world. Before we talk about this very interesting story, let’s understand a bit about the Siachen Glacier.

The Siachen glacier is a 74 km long glacier region at a 5400 meters height. The glacier is along the disputed boundaries of Indo - Pak and Indo - China border. It is also known as the ‘third pole’ and is surrounded by POK, China, Tibet, Russia, and Afghanistan, which makes it a strategic zone for India to protect. The Siachen separates Aksai Chin from Pok. Our soldiers deployed there protect us from the Pakistan army. The temperature at the Siachen glacier often fall at minus 60 degrees Celsius and there is less than 10% oxygen. The snowstorm at the glacier is often deadly and makes conditions difficult for the Indian army. Many many lives have been lost at the glacier not by the war but by the adverse weather and health conditions that make survival at the glacier next to impossible. Yet thousands of our soldiers are posted there at a stretch for 3-4 months.

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When LoC was formed between India and Pakistan, the eastern stretch was not demarcated beyond a point. This is where lied the Siachen glacier, unlivable and inhabited. A Shimla pact was signed between India and Pakistan, which barred the use of war and force to bring about any change in the Line of Control.
In 1970’s Pakistan started mountaineering expeditions by the civilians and it was moving closer to the military control. Alerted by the same, India too began its mountaineering expeditions to nullify the de facto claim that Pakistan wanted to have over the glacier. Pakistan had started its preparation in 1983 to control the Siachen glacier. Even the Pakistani and some American maps showed Siachen as a part of Pakistan. 

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To counter and control Pakistani control over the Siachen glacier, Operation Meghdoot was launched on 13th April 1984. The idea was to launch a post, that could be manned by the Indian army in the summer. And with their immense bravery and grid, the Indian army soon enough controlled the Saltaro Ridge, Bilafond La and Sia La, the main passes of the glacier at a great height. As a result, Pakistan declared this as a violation of the Shimla agreement.

After 3 years, Pakistan again tried to gain a dominant position by occupying the Quaid Post. However, this post also after a grave effort was regained by the Indian army. Pakistan has tried to thwart India’s presence in the Siachen by launching multiple operations.

The maintenance of Siachen costs India INR 50 million per day. Siachen Day is celebrated on 13th April every year by the Indian army, to remind the nation of the valour and sacrifices of thousands of soldiers under extreme weather conditions. We salute our bravehearts for protecting us selflessly and going through such extremities to protect the sovereignty of the nation.

- Tanya Kathpal

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