Siachen Glacier: Everything you wanted to know
'Sia-Chen' means the land of wild roses from the Balti dialect of Tibetan. However,
A little Science
So, for those of you who bunked your geography classes,
The Genesis of the problem lies with the Karachi agreement of 1949 which marked the Indo-Pak boundaries ONLY till point 'NJ9842' and added the words "thence north to the glaciers". It was assumed that No nation would try to fight over such a piece of wretched, frozen and barren land. However, Pakistan started to establish control over the access to siachen area through entry-passes and finally made a plan to occupy the icy heights in 1984. They ordered for special
Over the period of time, a number of skirmishes and attacks have been launched by both sides, but formidable spirit of Indian soldiers has prevailed.
10 Unique things our Soldiers do to Survive Siachen
1. The temperature dips below -50* C and if you touch anything including your rifle or metal, you will suffer frostbite or chill blains within 10 seconds. They have to wear gloves always.
2. The oxygen content is 10% of what is in the plains. Even while lying down, breathing is an effort.
3. There is no vegetation, trees or even grass. It's a white blanket of snow. Well, it causes depression.
4. Soldiers routinely suffer from Depression, Pulmonary disorders, embolism, Mountain sickness, Hallucinations, loss of appetite due to inhospitable weather.
5. Everything is frozen - snow is heated for use as drinking water.
6. Many posts are cutoff from supplies and world. They have to do an advance winter stocking for six months to survive the harsh winters with limited
pre-delivered supplies. Eating pre-packed food laced with preservatives makes the soldiers nauseous with loss of appetite.
7. Survival depends on innovative methods like soup and water parades, where the 10-12 Soldiers and officers on a lonely post gather to have warm soup and water to keep themselves fighting fit.
8. Bathing can make you ill, soldiers bathe once a month.
9. The soldiers get to make a weekly or monthly short call to their family members; hence they rely heavily on letters.
10. The world's highest helipad is at Point Sonam, Siachen at 21,000 feet.
As the retired colonel Yashpal said "Siachen, It's a hell, in the back of nowhere"!