So Sh Shyam Saran has written a book that has again started a cacophony of opinions on demilitarization of
Sharing some thoughts of my own, to add to that cacophony
Firstly, the battlefield is NOT Siachen. It is the Saltoro Ridge further to the West of the glacier. This is a fact which needs to be put on record.
That said, the genesis of the conflict in
#Siachen is worth studying. Nitin Gokhale’s book on the same is an excellent read. In short, the Shimla Accord delineated the LoC till Point NJ 9842 and, assuming areas further North to be too inhospitable, left the issue by saying that the LoC would thereafter run ‘northwards along the glaciers’.
Things stayed calm until the late 70s, when Pakistan started granting clearance to mountaineering / trekking expeditions in
#Siachen on its own. This was accompanied by ‘Cartographic Aggression’, wherein Pak maps suddenly started showing their territory ahead of NJ 9842 with a straight, north easterly line joining the point with the Karakoram Pass.
Then in the early 80s, own agencies informed the govt of the day that Pakis were busy shopping for high altitude gear, with an intention to occupy Saltoro Ridge and enforce their claim line. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to move in, and the army flew in a bunch of tough Kumaonis to occupy strategic heights / passes on the Saltoro Ridge. The timing was perfect, it pre-empted the planned Paki operation by mere weeks.
Pakis moved in soon, to occupy some unheld areas on the Saltoro, and trying to evict the Indian army.
Bloody clashes followed before the positions of both sides stabilized. The Indian army was in possession of almost all strategic and dominating heights on the Saltoro, less one sore spot – The Quaid Post – a post so important that the Pakis named it after their father of the nation, Jinnah. And then they lost it to a diminutive Khalsa, Bana Singh, in 1987!
A certain Brigadier Pervez Musharraf of the SSG was tasked to retake it. He threw in his best, and lost them all. Bana post continues to fly the Tricolour to this day.
Fast forward to the previous decade. Weather related casualties were, and continue to be at an all time low. Most of the men out of the 800+ as is being touted by the usual suspects, were lost in the first two decades or so. Of late, the Indian Army is comfortably dominating the battlefield. The Pakis know that dislodging the Indians from this area is impossible. Thus began the chant of ‘global warming’, ‘pollution’ etc, ironically, from a country that gives a damn about its own forest cover. The dream of the previous Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh to convert
#Siachen into a ‘Mountain of Peace’ was replied to by the Army with a single statement – ‘Let Pakistan authenticate its and our positions on a map jointly signed by both nations.’
This was a pre-requisite of the army which basically told its govt that once we withdraw, if the Pakis come and sit on the Saltoro, then don’t ask us to recapture it again, because we will be unable to do so.
They were right, Kargil had happened less than a decade ago, this DESPITE the LoC mutually agreed to in 1972! Bottomline – You cannot trust Pakistan to stick to its word. (Apparently, Shyam Saran’s book brings in some more details). But regardless of that,I still wonder why the eff have Pakis steadfastly refused to exchange authenticated maps of their and our positions on Saltoro, if that is what they had indeed agreed to as is being hinted?
Is it because we don’t know where they are placed?
Or is it because Pak Army has continuously lied to its own people that it is THEY who dominate Indians in the
Some points to ponder upon before the idiotic (IMO) calls for demilitarization.
Bottomline: Let us not let the sacrifice of hundreds of our best go waste because someone somewhere would rather trust the Pakis on their word instead of their past record.
In the end, just one question from me to the worthies about
#Siachen. Would be glad if someone can answer me :-