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Siachen Glacier World’s Highest Battleground DECODED – History of India Pakistan Siachen War 1984

Siachen Glacier World’s Highest Battleground DECODED – History of India Pakistan Siachen War 1984


  • GS 3 || Security || Tackling Security Threats || Army, Navy & Airforce

Why in the news?

Siachen Glacier World’s Highest Battleground. The Siachen Glacier is a glacier located in the Karakoram Range in the Himalayas.

Facts about Siachen Glacier:

  • The Siachen Glacier is the Karakoram Range’s longest and the world’s second longest glacier outside of the Polar Regions.
  • The Siachen Glacier is located in the Karakoram region, which is known as the world’s “Third Pole.”
  • Because Siachen Glacier is located south of the vast drainage divide that divides the Eurasian Plate from the Indian Subcontinent, it has been given this name.
  • The Siachen Glacier system encompasses around 700 km2 when all tributary glaciers are included.
  • The region is home to unique animals like as the snow leopard, brown bear, and ibex, which are endangered due to the military presence in the area.

History of Siachen Glacier:

  • As a result of this erroneous and unrealistic assessment, India occupied Siachen Glacier, or more precisely Saltoro Ridge, in April 1984.
  • It was only afterwards that it was realized that neither side could conduct large-scale military operations over Saltoro Ridge and Siachen Glacier.
  • Over the course of two decades, this bleeding ulcer has resulted in approximately 20,000 deaths and a daily expenditure of two crores.
  • “In the spring of 1948, India’s military occupation of the Saltoro Passes was intended only to prevent the Pakistanis from reaching there first.”

Dispute over the Siachen Glacier:

  • As part of India’s and Pakistan’s continuing Kashmir conflict, the dispute over the Siachen Glacier has played a critical role in relations between the two nations.
  • Both have claimed complete control of the Siachen area. The US and Pakistani governments, which were Cold War allies at the time, displayed inaccurate maps of the Siachen Glacier, with point NJ9842 having a dotted line all the way to the Karakoram Pass between the 1930s and early 1980s.
  • This was a cartographic mistake, according to India, and a breach of the 1972 Shimla Agreement, which stated that neither India nor Pakistan would unilaterally modify the depiction of the Line of Control without consulting each other.
  • India started Operation Meghdoot in 1984. As a consequence, India gained total control of the Siachen Glacier, including all of its tributaries. It was a day ahead of Pakistan’s own military operation, Operation Ababeel, to take the commanding heights on Saltoro Ridge, west of Siachen Glacier.
  • Deaths have occurred on both the Indian and Pakistani sides of the Siachen Glacier due to severe circumstances. Bullets kill fewer troops than frostbite, avalanches, and winter storms. India and Pakistan continue to send soldiers to Siachen despite the difficult conditions. Efforts to demilitarize the area have so far failed.
  • Late APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, was the first head of state from either country to visit the region (he was born on October 15, 1931).
  • India has allowed limited climbing and hiking trips into the region since September 2007. Cadets from Chail Military School, National Defence Academy, National Cadet Corps, Indian Military Academy, Rashtriya Indian Military College, and the families of armed services personnel were among the first batch.

Strategic Importance of Siachen:

  • Actual Ground Position Line: In the event of an ultimate settlement along the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line, the Saltoro Ridge occupation is asserting our claim beyond NJ 9842.
  • Northern Areas: India has long asserted that on October 26, 1947, the whole state of J&K, including the Northern Areas, acceded to India. As a result, the Indian Army’s presence in Saltoro constitutes an occupation of Indian Territory. It is unavoidable.
  • If the line connecting NJ 9842 to Indira Col, i.e., the line along Saltoro Ridge, is extended to the Indo-Tibet border, a large portion of the Saksgam Valley, which Pakistan unlawfully surrendered to China in 1963, will fall into Indian Kashmir. Since a result, the Chinese will have to engage with India to resolve the Saksgam Valley issue, as they have always stated that the Saksgam Valley’s status will be determined when the J&K crisis is resolved.
  • It’s important to note that the Karachi Agreement of 1949 and the Shimla Agreement of 1972 both left the status of the Indo-Pak border unclear north of Pt NJ 9842, which is where the Siachen conflict began. While the Karachi Agreement states that “the ceasefire line would stretch northwards to the Glaciers from Pt NJ 9842,” the Shimla Agreement makes no mention of it. This is unforgivable.

Pak View Point:

  • If the line of control alignment immediately before to NJ 9842 is extended, it will travel in a north Easterly direction to Karakoram Pass. India’s occupancy of Saltoro Ridge has changed the status of the line of control.

Indian View Point:

  • Since Pak’s capture of Gyong Glacier in 1984 changed the line of the Line of Control immediately before to NJ 9842, Pak’s claim that the Line of Control extends north eastwards to Karakoram Pass is untenable.
  • Because the Line of Control does not extend beyond NJ 9842, Pakistan’s claim that India has changed the status of the Line of Control by occupying Saltoro Ridge is also untrue.

Efforts at Demilitarization of Siachen:

  • Despite the vast differences between the two points of view, attempts to demilitarize Siachen have been ongoing since the late 1980s.
  • Talks have broken down owing to India’s and Pakistan’s differing perspectives on how to demilitarize.

Indian Stand:

  • Pak’s cartographic aggressiveness must end. Siachen is depicted as part of Pakistan in many Pak Atlases.
  • The construction of a demilitarized zone in Siachen is agreed upon by India.
  • However, before the procedures can begin, maps indicating unit placement on the Actual Ground Position Line must be shared.
  • It is necessary to establish ground rules for future military actions in this region.
  • Forces should then be redeployed to a mutually agreed-upon location.

Operation Meghdoot:

  • In 1984, India received intelligence information indicating that Pakistan intended to seize the Siachen Glacier.
  • A reconnaissance trip was conducted, and it was discovered that there were foreign missions in the region.
  • The Saltoro ridge is a crucial strategic location. On the 13th of April, 1984, India launched Operation Meghadoot, occupying critical locations along the Saltoro ridge, and the glacier has been under Indian administrative authority ever since.
  • As a result, India and Pakistan have been locked in a military stalemate in the Siachen glacier region since 1984. It’s the world’s most dangerous battleground.


While every life is valuable, the nation’s security cannot be jeopardized. Instead, fresh approaches to the problem should be explored. Although it may not be viable to replace soldiers with technology at this time, modern technology such as remote sensing must be extensively employed to aid the warriors. The current infrastructure for studying weather patterns has to be improved, and thorough climatic research in the region should be conducted to forewarn soldiers before tragedy occurs.

Mains oriented question:

What is strategic importance of Siachen Glacier? Examine. (200 words)