Saga of Siachin heroes

April 13 is a day of festival in our country. It is Baisakhi, the first day of the month of Baisakh, with which new Bikrami year begins. It is the day of founding the Khalsa Panth, and farmers call it their festival as the harvesting begins with the day. However, this year, 13th April has added significance for our country. On this day, the Siachin Brigade in Ladakh region celebrated the capture of Saltro ridge by our brave soldiers 31 years ago. The saga of that great military operation in which our heroic jawans pre-empted Pakistan’s bid of wresting the initiative, is written in letters of gold. Every patriotic Indian will be proud of our Army that demonstrated extraordinary bravery and dedication and planted the Indian tricolour atop Siachin, the highest battlefield in the world on the Himalayan Mountain.
It was April of the year 1984. Indian Army commanders received the intelligence that Pakistani troops were preparing to move on to Siachin glacier and capture Bilafond La pass and thereby establish their strategic superiority in the region of Saltro Range that overlooks the Nubra Valley where the Chinese are active. Our Army commanders took a quick decision of pre-empting Pakistan’s designs. On 13 April 1984, a memorable day in our military history, a valiant contingent of Indian troops under the command of 22-year young Capt. Sanjay Kulkarni launched an operation codenamed Operation Meghdoot. Complete success was the reward of this heroic adventure and Capt. Kulkarni was the first Indian soldier to plant his foot on Bilafond La pass of Siachin Glacier.
At the impressive felicitation ceremony, kick started with the wreath laying ceremony at the Siachin Base Camp War Memorial, Lt. Gen Kulkarni, the hero of Siachin was the chief guest. His presence lent dignity and poise to the function where glorious tribute was paid to the martyrs of Siachin War. The small but dedicated contingent of Indian troops that captured Siachin survived atop Bilafond La on their own for four days braving snow blizzards and extreme cold. On the fourth day, an Indian helicopter appeared and dropped foodstuff and other urgent material, and with that began the exercise of establishing control on the Saltro Ridge and the pass overlooking Nubra valley.
Celebrating Siachin day turned to be a day of great festivities in the entire Ladakh area and the locals fully participated in it while performing cultural show. Obviously, celebrating occasions like these infuses the people of the region with new spirit and energy to demonstrate their patriotism and solidarity with the Army that is performing crucial role in protecting civilian population and their culture and ways of life beside insulating border against external incursions.
Siachin has become a great subject for discussion when Indo-Pak talks for resolving outstanding issues whenever bilateral talks are resumed intermittently. Pakistan has made several efforts to prompt New Delhi to resolve Siachin through dialogue. Finding that India did not react to its promptings over Siachin because of no-trust in Pakistan’s words, Pakistan launched Kargil war with the objective of cutting the line of communication of the Indian army in Siachin region. However, Pakistan was humbled, as usually she is humbled in other areas also. We should remember that Indian army commanders have always rejected any agreement on Siachin with Pakistan that asks India to vacate the highest post. Keeping in mind the strategic importance of Siachin Indian military planners have put their foot down and will not fall in the trap. We are already bearing the disastrous consequences of returning Haji Pir pass in Uri sector to Pakistan that our troops had captured at great sacrifices during 1962 War.
Siachin’s strategic importance to our country has increased manifold ever since China intensified its clandestine forays into our territories in Ladakh region. China and Pakistan, both meeting somewhere in the region have formed a nexus to frustrate India in the defence of her northern frontier. China would be happy if Pakistan could somehow occupy Siachin so that suspicious movements of PLA in the Nubra Valley are not detected and disclosed. China has been building roads and communication infrastructure close to our border and this poses threat to our security. With China’s intensification of activity in Gilgit and Baltistan during past couple of years and the intended building up of infrastructure along the Karakorum Highway is a matter of serious security concern to us in India.  We need to keep our eyes and ears open to what is happening around us and we should not let the enemy catch us on the wrong foot.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here