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Siachen: The highest battlefield and its difficult terrain

November 26, 2019 2:41 PM |

Siachen Sandwiched between the Karakoram mountains in the East and the Saltro Ridge on the West Siachen is the highest battlefield in the world. The height of this region varies from 19,000 feet to 25,000 feet.

Siachen is also considered as one of the most difficult terrains for human habitation, particularly during winters. In fact, it is a glacier and the second-longest in the non-polar areas of the world.

This region faces inclement weather conditions round the clock with marginal relief during the months of April and May. As we move further into the winter season the weather becomes freezing cold with December and January being the harshest months.

The main challenge in this region is from snow blizzards and avalanches as was recently witnessed. On November 18, an avalanche claimed the lives of Indian 4 army personnel and 2 civilian porters.

The extremity of the terrain does not stop here. If we talk about the temperatures in the region, the severity of the weather can be gauged from the fact that the day temperature during winters settles between -50 degrees and -60 degrees Celsius which can definitely make survival for a human being near impossible.

Till 1984, round the clock manning by the soldiers of both the sides - India and Pakistan- was not a norm keeping in mind the extremely harsh weather conditions and effort required to manning the region. But due to the rising tensions between both the sides, manning is done 24x7.

The difficulty faced by the army here is in plenty. First, everything that has to be delivered here weather it is food or any other essentials has to be through air, which means via helicopters having limited capacity. And because of the terrain, there is no airstrip for fixed-wing planes to land. Transportation of essential commodities is therefore difficult.

Another big hurdle is evacuation. If troops need to be moved out immediately from a certain area of the region it may take days due to inclement weather conditions like a sudden blizzard or an avalanche. It is difficult to mark the path as continuous snow may cover it and one may lose direction.

Army personnel here are posted for a period of three months only. And they should not be more than 30 years age. According to data, the Indian government spends about 7 crore rupees every day to patrol this extremely difficult terrain from the enemies.

Image Credit: Indiatoday

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