India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Siachen glacier in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas on August 12, during his second visit to Jammu and Kashmir. He is also scheduled to visit Kargil and Leh to inaugurate a power transmission line.
Official sources told a local news agency, KNS, that the Prime Minister who is scheduled to visit Ladakh region will also visit Siachen glacier on august 12. “The Army chief General Dalbir Singh will accompany the PM to the glacier a 76-km river of slow moving ice, besides this Prime Minister Modi will also visit Kargil and Leh in Ladakh, where he will address public rallies and will also inaugurate a power transmission line which will be built at an altitude of over 10,000 feet in snowy terrain,” sources told KNS.
In 2005, the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also visited the Siachen Glacier, world’s highest and coldest battlefield with both Pakistani and Indian soldiers stationed there since 1984. After a ceasefire, the guns have largely been silent since late 2003.
The Army has deployed around 3,000 soldiers on the glacier where temperatures can drop to minus 60 degrees and almost 80 percent posts are located above 16,000 feet, with Bana post towering above the rest at 21,753 feet.
Holding on to Siachen has cost the army more than 860 lives over the last 30 years, with extreme climate and terrain chiefly to blame. Guarding the glacier also costs Rs 5 crore daily.
Several rounds of talks between India and Pakistan on demilitarizing the glacier have failed in the past. Successive army chiefs have warned against withdrawing from the glacier until Pakistan authenticates troop positions, as it would be a formidable task to reclaim Siachen.