Army activates satellite-based internet service at Siachen

BBNL infrastructure installed in Siachen Galcier.
BBNL infrastructure installed in Siachen Galcier.

Communication gets major boost

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Sept 19: In a major boost for soldiers, the Indian Army today activated satellite-based internet service at Siachen Glacier in the Union Territory of Ladakh, the highest battlefield in the world involving arch rivals India and Pakistan.
Official sources told the Excelsior that internet service (based on satellite) has been activated at Siachen Glacier, located at the height of 19061 feet from the sea level, in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Though complete peace prevails in Siachen Glacier and not even a single shot has been exchanged between Indo-Pak troops for past several years, a number of casualties have taken place due to snow slides on both the sides.
Large number of troops man the Glacier and activation of satellite-based internet service for them will be of great help to them, the sources said.
The Fire and Fury Corps or XIV Corps, headquartered at Leh in the Union Territory of Ladakh, looks after military deployment along frontiers with Pakistan in Leh, Kargil and Siachen and Eastern Ladakh on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
Sources said the BBNL (Bharat Broadband Network Limited), a Government of India undertaking that is providing the net connectivity to the Army at Siachen, is the same agency that is responsible for the implementation of BharatNet Project.
The BBNL, as per the sources, also planned to provide satellite-based internet to nearly 7000 Gram Panchayats and some other far off and inaccessible areas where fibre-based internet connectivity is not possible.
Communication in far off and mountainous areas in the Union Territory of Ladakh has been a major problem. While China has strengthened communication in remote villages in its side, India was lacking in it in some areas though the present Government has done a lot to improve the services.
Only yesterday, a deputation led by Chushul Councillor Konchok Stanzin met Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur at Pangong and demanded communication facilities for remote areas there.
Sources said while 4,000 Gram Panchayats have already been commissioned across the country, 7,000 sites will be covered by four satellite gateways with two high throughput (HTS) satellites under the Central Government project.
“There are a few private companies that are providing different satellite-based internet services to the Indian Army in sensitive places in border areas like in Eastern Ladakh. Hughes Communications India, which has tied up with ISRO for using the Indian space agency’s Gsat-11 and Gsat-29 satellites and recently announced the commercial launch of India’s first high-throughput satellite (HTS) broadband service, is providing sat-based connectivity to the Indian Army along the China border, including in the Galwan region.
A major clash had occurred between Sino-Indian troops in Galwan leading to martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers including a Colonel while more than 40 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel of China were killed.
Sources said the Indian Army may also get its own dedicated communication satellite in near future.