February 11, 2016
"It is important to recognise that just because we have militarily and materially invested in the Siachen region over the years or incur lower casualties than Pakistan, it does not provide us with a strategically sound rationale to continue stationing troops there, only to keep losing them year after year."
While we as a nation remain indebted to our brave soldiers who laid down their precious lives on the glacier, there is neither valour nor glory indeath due to cerebral edema or hypothermia, guarding a few kilometres of ice whose strategic value is ambiguous at best
The deadly Siachen avalanche that claimed nine lives on February 3, and many hundreds since the Indian military occupation of the Saltoro Ridge in 1984, does not seem to have convinced Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to order troop withdrawal from the glacier. While responding to the tragedy, he stated: “The decision on Siachen is based on the security of the nation. I am disturbed by the loss of life but I think that due to this, some other solution [withdrawal] would not be the proper analysis.” How well-thought-out is Mr. Parrikar’s argument? Does the Siachen glacier offer such irrefutable strategic advantage vis-à-vis Pakistan or China that we need to continue to sacrifice young lives year after year?