For the Indian forces deployed in Siachen, it is less of a challenge to watch out for the frail Pakistani forces but to just stay atop this 76 kilometers long glacier at 5, 400 meters altitude (nearly twice the altitude of Ladakh and Kargil) in itself means you have to defy all of your physical, mental and spiritual limits.
You have to be a super soldier, a superhero.
And that’s what each one of our soldiers out there at Siachen glacier and on posts at even greater heights really is!
1. The Siachen soldiers
Every soldier comes here by choice, never by chance.
2. The dedication
They live by, “we do the difficult as a routine. The impossible may take a little longer.”
3. Testing human resilience
These Indian soldiers deployed along 76 km long Siachen glacier not only stand strong in the face of nature, but also defy their physical, psychological, mental and spiritual limits.
4. The human body just cannot acclimatize over 5,400 meters
When you stay at that altitude for long, you lose your weight, don’t feel like eating, sleep disorders come around in no time and memory loss – that’s a common occurrence. Put simply, the body begins to deteriorate. That’s what happens at Siachen.
5. Not a sport
Mountain climbers climb when the weather is at its best; soldiers serve in these treacherous terrains all year round.
6. Highest battleground
Siachen glacier located on the eastern Karakoram Range of Himalayas is the highest battleground on Earth. And, with Indian and Pakistani military forces fighting erratically since April 1984, the region has become one of the costliest military outposts.
7. Snowstorms in Siachen can last 3 weeks.
When snow storms come around, at least two to three soldiers have to keep using shovels (in snow storm). Else, the military post would become a history; in no time.
8. Army pilots literally push their helicopters well beyond their optimal performance, every day!
They force their bodies to adapt to the unruly weather conditions atop 5,400 mt altitudes. Memory loss, weight loss, insomnia, these are all as common to them as cough, cold and flu are to us!
9. In Siachen, the Indian Army spends as much as 80% of its time preparing soldiers of deployment.
They live at such a height and the path to reach them is so tough that there is a saying, “only best of mates or fiercest enemies do come by.”
10. No water
They do not often get to dip their hands and legs in warm water, or get a hot water bath, but dipping their weapons in hot water is a regular, to keep them off jamming.
11. Daily routine
Problem of speech slurring is as easy as freezing of toothpaste inside the tube.
12. Their Sacrifice is our safety
Not all of them have their families living affluent lives in their absence, but still they leave them behind for the sake of our lives.
13. Ice is the only source
Only available source of drinking water to them is the melting of ice. Each soldier lives off 14-pairs of thermal socks in 90-day posting period.
14. In last three years alone, 50 Indian soldiers have died in Siachen.
These causalities as per the information made available by Defense Minister in Lok Sabha, were due to the very nature of the place our forces are serving. These soldiers sacrificed their lives on the line of duty while combating the floods, avalanches and floods in Siachen.
15. Rations come out of tin cans.
Fresh food – that’s rare. Very rare. At Siachen, an orange or an apple can freeze to the hardness of a cricket ball in no time.
Despite these extreme hostilities, the Indian Army has never experienced a shortage of volunteers to serve in Siachen. A heartfelt salute to these brave hearts!