In his first trip as Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh on Monday visited the Siachen Glacier – the world’s most dangerous battlefield – to meet the soldiers guarding the border beyond the heights of 12,000 feet.
“Visited a forward post and Siachen base camp today and interacted with the Army personnel serving in this region which is also known as the ‘the highest battlefield in the world’,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.
Rajnath Singh was accompanied by Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat, they also visited the headquarters of the Army’s 14 Corps in Leh and 15 Corps in Srinagar.
Defence Minister saluted the vigour and valour of the soldiers in Siachen and said, “I am proud of all Army personnel serving in Siachen who are leaving no stone unturned to defend our motherland. I am also proud of their parents who have sent their children to serve the nation by joining the Armed forces”.
“Paid tributes to the martyred soldiers who sacrificed their lives while serving in Siachen. More than 1100 soldiers have made supreme sacrifice defending the Siachen Glacier. The nation will always remain indebted to their service and sacrifice.” Rajnath Singh wrote on the microblogging site.
Top commanders of the Army briefed the defence minister about overall security situation along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan and apprised him about the anti-terror operations in Kashmir.
Singh arrived at the high altitude Thoise airfield in Ladakh from where he travelled to an operational base and then go to the Siachen Glacier where he interacted with Army’s field commanders and soldiers.
The Siachen Glacier in the Karakorum range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds.
Avalanches and landslides are common at the glacier during the winters and temperatures can drop to as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
According to official figure, the Army lost 163 personnel at the world’s highest battlefield during the last 10 years. India and Pakistan started deploying troops at the strategically key glacier in 1984.
Sources said the defence minister will be given detailed and specific presentations at 14 Corps and 15 corps relating to India’s preparedness to deal with any possible eventualities and misadventure by Pakistan.
The Army’s 14 Corps guard the Line of Actual Control with China as well as the Line of Control with Pakistan. The Srinagar-based 15 Corp is mainly tasked with carrying out anti-terror operations in the Kashmir valley.