The dispute of the ownership of the Siachin Glacier started out in 1984. Since then, it remains one of the costliest military adventures in the history of the world. After the cease-fire of 2003, conditions have improved a bit but the major issues of the cost of maintaining troops at the glacier remains unresolved.
A bit of background
The conflict started when Indian forces executed a successful Operation Meghddot. The operation was executed in order to address the discomfort of the Indian military establishment over the vague ownership rights of the Glacier and surrounding area.
After the 1972 Simla Accord, it was discovered that the agreement do not lay down a specific demarcation of the boundaries.
The Indian Army launched a successful operation to occupy the Glacier and its surrounding areas in 1984. It has been alleged that the operation was carried out to thwart Pakistan’s plans of taking over the Glacier and surrounding areas. The result of the operation was Indian domination of the area.
Pakistan tried to undo the damage twice in 1987 and 1989. The first attempt was a complete failure while the second resulted in a stalemate.
Is Siachin Glacier that important?
Siachin Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield. It is located 6749 meters ASL. It is now actively occupied by units of both Pakistan and India. At the moment, both India and Pakistan maintain 3000 active duty servicemen in 150 checkpoints along the cease-fire line.
Sichin conflict has always been cites as an example of how wars could place a permanent drain on the resources of a nation. In order to support their presence on and along the glacier, both Pakistan and India spend huge sums of money out of their defense budgets.
Armies on both sides of the conflict have lost more men to the ravages of the weather then in direct combat. Indeed, direct fighting is rare on the Glacier. Instead men loose life and limb to frostbites, avalanches and sudden drops in temperatures.
It is about time that both India and Pakistan should start giving the whole idea a serious thought. Bring the troops back from the glacier would allow the poor of the countries some measure of relief and would save countless men form lifelong disability.
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