The burden of Siachen – Part 2

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 3:23:39 by

Troop withdrawal, a necessary step

Though easier said than done, it may be more practical for both nations to slowly start pulling their troops away from Siachen in order to save their soldiers from further misery. When the Gayari depot was built back I 1984, it was due to the fact that many
experts claimed that an avalanche will never hit the place. However, the atmosphere and environment has changed a lot since then.

Due to human presence of almost 20 decades, the glaciers have started melting and incidents like Gayari are bound to happen more often than not. India proudly claims to have the highest helipad on earth in terms of altitude. Around 150 check posts are divided
between the two sworn enemies.

The recent incident in Gayari should make both side’s leaders realize that now might be a good time to pack up and leave Siachen be.

Cease-fire came into effect in 2003 but it is not the skirmishes that have claimed so many lives. Severe conditions are the root cause of deaths.

Many retired generals and other army officers on both sides who have experienced the adversities of living in Siachen have criticized their respective governments for being hell-bent on fighting a war over a ‘piece of glacier’.


Siachen, a drain on resources

For both nations, Siachen has proven to be a costly battleground in all fairness. Carrying supply chance to such an isolated part of the world is hazardous and costs a lot of fuel. In order to have an efficient transportation system, India made a helipad.

However, one must wonder if the two countries weren’t better off without fighting for this piece of ice and snow. Instead of spending millions of dollars each year, the two countries should be concentrating their financial efforts in other places.

Both countries are still fighting poverty. In both Pakistan and India, almost 80 % of the population lives below the poverty line. Though insecurities and lack of trust between the two nations has been prevalent since the beginning, it is more important
for both nations to at least start cutting down their losses on a place where a war would be an entirely foolish event.

Whether leaders on both sides admit it or not, the two nations have become a laughing stock of the world due to their childish attitude towards Siachen.

Demilitarization of Siachen

A few days back, a local newspaper claimed that India had agreed with Pakistan to move its forces to peacetime locations. However, those speculations were squashed quite quickly by the Indian defense ministry who then claimed that there were no such plans
on troop withdrawal.

Instead of talking about the issue, India put the blame on Pakistan for not giving India security from terrorists thus ending all hopes of a future demilitarization of the area.

"Despite Pakistan not delivering on our main concerns on terrorism, there seems to be an attempt to build unrealistic euphoria. At another level, it seems a ruse to portray to the world community that New Delhi is backtracking on agreements it had reached
with Islamabad,” said a senior official.

Pakistan on the other hand, knows that its army can’t initiate this withdrawal as it will give Indian Army a great chance to occupy all the dominating heights of the region ranging from 16,000 to 20,000 feet. Already, the Indians dominate most of these ranges
so Pakistan can’t really trust India with the withdrawal initiative if past events are taken into consideration.

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