The area is inhabitable at temperatures falling down to as low as -50 degrees. Very few people understand what it means to fight in spite of the conditions prevailing at Siachen and guard India. This is undoubtedly the world’s most forbidden and unforgiving battlefield. India is losing 27 soldiers a year in Siachen. This has been a forgotten war in our public consciousness.
At a time when social media rules the world, it is disheartening to see little efforts being taken to spread the word about Siachen and the brave soldiers risking their lives by fighting at the Glacier. The importance of Siachen is known when we realize the inherent tactical advantage of heights in an area where four countries meet in a landlocked terrain.
Must know facts about Siachen Glacier and the soldiers
- The Indian soldiers posted at Siachen Glacier are paid a special allowance of Rs 14000 per month apart from their salary. The 7th Pay Commission has proposed a 50% increase in allowance. Soldiers at such high altitude require 55 items out of which 20 are imported.
- The Indian troops deployed at Siachen are at an altitude of 20000ft and have to survive the harshest climate conditions which lead to multiple health issues.
- A total of about 880 soldiers have died on the Siachen Glacier since 1984, out of which 97% death are due to harsh climatic conditions and sickness related to it. Rising between 18000 and 22000 feet above sea level, temperatures in the Glacier can drop to an alarming 60 degrees Celsius below freezing.
- Soldiers have to trek for almost 28 days covering a stretch of 128 km to reach some of the farthest places on the Glacier.
- Many times, up to 6 soldiers have to live in igloos made of fiberglass which is no bigger than a normal king sized bed. Kerosene stoves are the only way to keep them warm, despite the smoke emerging from the stove that almost covers everything in pit black.
- Owing to the dip in temperatures to -60degrees, nothing can be touched with bare hands as it results in frost bites within seconds. Any military equipment can be operated only by wearing anti-frostbite gloves, which is also dangerous as sweat inside the gloves freezes to become ice, leading to finger amputations.
- Soldiers suffer from multiple illnesses arising from such harsh climatic conditions such as eyesight and hearing problems, memory loss due to prolonged use of oxygen masks, depression, hallucination, blurred speech, pulmonary and cerebral edema and even death.
- Blizzards in this area whip up winds of speeds up to 300km per hour. Oxygen is so rare at this height and every breath is a battle for survival.
- Having food delivered at that altitude is a difficult feat and helicopters drop in canned food, which sometimes gets lost in the snow. Fresh food is a forgotten luxury and soldiers have to totally depend on canned food.
- Soldiers take bath only once a month in specially designed structures by DRDO, owing to the fear of death by freezing. Drinking water is obtained by melting ice on stoves and washing is also a rarity.
- Irrespective of all the difficulties, the Indian Army has built the world’s highest helipad in Siachen, at approximately 21000 ft above sea level, in order to facilitate food and other supply flow all round the year, as this is their only means of survival.
- This is a place where even professional mountain climbers dread to climb, and our soldiers’ guard the place all through the year. Snow storms can last up to more than half a month.
Despite all the above-mentioned difficulties associated with guarding a place like Siachen, Indian Army has never fallen short of soldiers volunteering to serve in that place. A standing ovation to all the courageous hearts, who knowingly put their own lives at risk in order to save millions of other lives.
Salute to all the brave soldiers, who are keeping their life a...
Salute to all the brave soldiers, who are keeping their life at stake at Siachen Glacier !!About Siachen Glacier : The average winter snowfall is more than 1000 cm (35 ft) and temperatures can dip to −50 °C (−58 °F). Including all tributary glaciers.The highest combat zone on planet earth, Siachen glacier is one place where fewer soldiers have died on the line duty due to enemy fire than because of the harsh weather conditions.For Indian forces deployed in Siachen, it is less of a challenge to watch out for the frail Pakistani forces but to just stay atop this 76 kilometers long glacier at 5, 400 meters altitude (nearly twice the altitude of Ladakh and Kargil) in itself means you have to defy all of your physical, mental and spiritual limits.You have to be a super soldier, a hero.And that’s what each one of our soldiers out there at Siachen glacier and on posts at even greater heights really is!Happy Independence Day Every One.... !!Posted by Goldscreen.com on Sunday, August 14, 2016