About 35 years after it was closed down for civilians, Siachen Glacier, the world's highest battlefield, was on Monday declared open for tourists by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in a major decision ahead of the creation of the Union Territory of Ladakh where the region is located.
Pakistan, in the early 1980s, also started sending expeditions there, triggering an alarm in India that it could be a ploy to capture the strategically important region. Wary of Pakistani misadventure, India rushed its troops in 1984 under 'Operation Meghdoot' and has ever since maintained strategic control of the glacier. (Representative Image)
Step to boost tourism in Ladakh
The step has been taken to boost tourism in Ladakh and give people a window to appreciate the tough work done by Army jawans and engineers in extreme weather and inhospitable terrains. The Defence Minister said Ladakh has tremendous potential in tourism, and better connectivity in Ladakh would certainly bring tourists in large numbers. (Representative Image)
The Siachen Glacier at the height of around 20,000 ft in the Karakoram range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds. Avalanches and landslides are common at the glacier during the winters and temperatures can drop to as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius
Col Chewang Rinchen Setu inaugurated!
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated `Col Chewang Rinchen Setu', a strategically important bridge, over Shyok river in Ladakh region. The 430-meter-long bridge has been built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and connects Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in Eastern Ladakh. He described the bridge as a symbol of the Centre's resolve of bringing "positive change and all-round development" of the nation.