MP for ‘troop withdrawal’ from Siachen, but Parrikar disagrees

Voicing concern over the death of 10 army men in Siachen recently, a JD-U member on Friday said in Rajya Sabha that India and Pakistan should work towards withdrawal of troops from such tough areas to save the lives from both sides.
MP for ‘troop withdrawal’ from Siachen, but Parrikar disagrees
File Photo

Voicing concern over the death of 10 army men in Siachen recently, a JD-U member on Friday said in Rajya Sabha that India and Pakistan should work towards withdrawal of troops from such tough areas to save the lives from both sides.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, K C Tyagi referred to the death of soldiers in Siachen after their post was hit by an avalanche earlier this month to buttress his point.

He said many Indian and Pakistani soldiers die due to difficult working conditions in Siachen.

He recalled that during the Prime Ministership of Rajiv Gandhi, an attempt was made to withdraw forces from both sides from such difficult terrain.

This issue should figure in talks between India and Pakistan whenever it happens next time so that untimely deaths of soldiers can be prevented, Tyagi said.    

'WON'T VACATE GLACIERS'

India will not vacate the Siachen glaciers as Pakistan cannot be trusted and it may occupy the strategic location once it is vacated, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.

India occupies the highest point in Siachen glaciers, the Saltoro Ridge which is located at 23,000 feet, he said.

"If we vacate the position, the enemy can occupy the position and they would have the strategic advantage. Then we would have to lose many more lives. We know the experience of 1984 (Siachen conflict). I know we have to pay the price and I salute our armed forces personnel, but we have to maintain this position. We have to man the strategic position. The position is very important from the strategic point. I don't think anyone in this House can take Pakistan's words for granted," Parrikar said during Question Hour.

The statement comes few weeks after ten soldiers were buried alive under snow after their camp in the northern part of the Siachen glacier was hit by a major avalanche on February 3.

The Defence Minister said so far 915 people have lost their lives in the last 32 years in Siachen, which comes to 28 lives every year. This has now been reduced to 10 lives every year.

Parrikar said constant medical support is given to those serving in the Siachen glaciers which is six times more than the normal medical care. A total of 19 categories of clothing are provided to the soldiers in addition to various other assistance like snow scooters.

"There is no supply shortage. … We can't totally conquer nature," he said. 

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir
www.greaterkashmir.com