Siachen Glacier, which is the world’s highest battlefield, is now open for tourists, says Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. He, on Monday, declared that the entire area from Siachen Base to Kumar Post has been opened for tourism. Now that civilians are allowed to experience the tough conditions of Siachen Glacier and many of you have even started to plan a trip to the highest battlefield, here we tell you 5 important facts about the place which is solely operated by Indian soldiers.
- Siachen glacier acts as a barrier between the Shaksgam Valley and Baltistan. The former is under the control of China whereas the latter is occupied by Pakistan. Siachen holds significant importance for India as it prevents the link-up of the Pakistani army with the Chinese and protects Ladakh.
- At Siachen glacier, the temperature is always freezing and it can even drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius. Also, the oxygen level at that height is as low as 10 per cent of what we have down on grassland. Siachen glacier’s average elevation from sea level is around 17770 feet.
- India spends around 5 to 7 crores daily on guarding the glacier. Approximately 3000 soldiers always remain on duty in the glacier. Every soldier who gets the duty to guard the glacier serves about three months. The harsh weather condition cannot be survived for more than that.
- Since 1984, when the Indian army took control of Siachen, more than 1000 soldiers have died guarding the glacier. You will be surprised to know that this number is almost twice the men who lost their lives in the Kargil war. A war memorial can be seen on the Nubra river with the names of all the Indian soldiers who lost their lives for their country.
- Currently, India has the dominating position on the Saltoro ridge, under its control. The Pakistani posts are located 3,000 feet below that place.