The Siachen Tragedy-Apr 2012

A posting by Editor of Media Point Blog.Please also read how weather has hampered the search for any survivors:

This photo released by Inter Services Public Relations on Sunday shows the avalanche site in Siachen. Diplomats on Monday said China would most certainly send some form of financial and technical assistance to help rescue work.


The PRIDE of Pakistan Six Northern Light Infantry Regiment (NLI)which was on duty of our protection on the world’s highest battle ground and operating in temperatures as low as 150 degrees centigrade. A battalion headquarters size Pakistani post working since last 20 years in Gyari sector of Siachen came under avalanche 80 feet deep and almost a km by km in size .We all pray for them .   

Six Northern Light Infantry Regiment (NLI) – Unit History


            The history of the Northern Light Infantry Regiment dates back to 1889 when a “Levy Force” was raised by Colonel Algenon Durand which was re-organized as “Gilgit Scouts” in August 1913 by Major JC Bridges 5th Gorkha Rifiles.

Later on “Northern Scouts” was raised in October 1949 by taking it’s manpower from Gilgit Scouts and the first Commandant was Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) Muhammad Rafi Khan.   Due to operational requirement, the Corps of Northern Scouts was bifurcated on 1st July 1964 and a separated Corps by the name of “Karakurm Scouts” was raised with it’s HQ at Skardu whose first Commandant was Major Sardar Muhammad Hussain Shaikh. “Northern Light Infantry” was raised by complete re-organized of Gilgit, Northern and Karakuram Scouts in Northern Areas on 1 November 1975.

6 Northern Light Infantry Regiment was converted into Northern Light Infantry Battalion on 1 November 1975 from 104 Wing of Karakuram Scouts.  This conversion took place at Skardu with a local name of “SIKKIS”.  The unit has rich history of valour. The unit participated in 1965 and 1971 wars as Karakuram Scouts from Olding Sector Skardu.  It had a stay of two years at Siachen Glacier, four tenures of Azad Kashmir including two tenures of Sher Gali at Lipa Sector, Over and above the other areas of FCNA.

Honour and Awards          Unit has earned following honours and awards:-

a.     Sitara-i-Jurat             –           4   (3 Officers and 1 Junior Commissioned Officer)

b.     Tamgha-i-Jurat         –           4   (Soldiers)

c.     Tamgha-i-Basalat    –           6    (4 Officers and 1 Junior Commissioned Officer and 1 Soldier)



(Please Read to Know so you may feel how your ignorance and  silence kill others)


  • Siachen  Battle field  an Environment Issue — By  Hamid Waheed

     A battalion headquarters size Pakistani post working since last 20 years in Gyari sector of Siachen came under avalanche 80 feet deep and almost a km by km in size raising obvious question why now?  It is not just 135 Pakistani soldiers who lost life but will also affect their families and more importantly, same can happen tomorrow to anyone in the region.   Glaciers are ancient rivers of compressed snow that creep through the landscape, shaping the planet’s surface. They are the earth’s largest freshwater reservoirs, collectively covering an area the size of South America. Most of the world’s glaciers are located around the poles. In the non-polar region, the Himalaya Mountains are the origin of many glaciers and important rivers of Asia. The range offers a variety of glaciers. It includes Siachen, Baltoro, Biafo, Nubra and Hispur Glaciers. But the most important is the Siachen Glacier, which is the largest glacier outside the polar regions. The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains at about 35°3’N 77°0’E, at an altitude of 15,000 feet, on the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. A portion of it is being controlled each by India and Pakistan. 70 km (43 mi) long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakorams. The glaciers are the main and the biggest source of fresh water in South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. Therefore they are a lifeline for hundreds of millions of people of the area whose food security is dependent on Himalayan waters.
The Siachen Glacier’s melting ice is the main source of the Nubra River in Indian controlled Ladakh, which drains into the Shyok River. The Shyok in turn joins the Indus River. Thus the glacier is a major source of the Indus waters. The Indus Basin is the 12th largest basin in the world, ensuring food replenishment to millions of people. The geographic layout of the area is such that it slopes towards the south and southwest. Therefore speedy melting of the Siachen Glacier increases the chances of flooding the Indus Basin and causing destructive snow avalanches on both sides of Saltoro Ridge. If this happens, most of the routes used by world mountaineering expeditions, particularly originating or passing through Pakistan, would become unsafe.

As a matter of fact glaciers have been retreating worldwide since the end of the Little Ice Age (around 1850), but in recent decades glaciers have begun melting at rates that cannot be explained by historical trends. Since the early 1960s, mountain glaciers worldwide have experienced an estimated net loss of over 4,000 cubic kilometres of water. However, among the legendary peaks of K2 and Nanga Parbat, glaciers with a penthouse view of the world are rather growing. It is the Siachen Glacier only which is melting and that too on the eastern side of the Saltoro Ridge (presently occupied by the Indian army), the retreat of which has been observed as about 110 meters a year. It is the fastest melting rate of any glacier in the world. Reports also indicate that a large lake has formed in the middle of the Siachen Glacier presently occupied by the Indian army.

It seems very strange that the glacier is defrosting fast on one side and at the same time growing on the other side. It really raises a question why global warming is not affecting the Himalayan glaciers uniformly? Is it global warming or something different that is causing rapid melting, thereby shrinking the glacier? In the recent past, expert reports suggested another probable cause: the erection of artificial infrastructure and human activity in the area as it has been an active battlefield for the last two decades or so. The surfacing of a lake at a location which is the centre of military activity of the Indian army further strengthens such speculations. It indicates one more thing that glaciers on the western side bear thin infrastructure and human activity. In any case, global warming has less to do with deicing of the Siachen Glacier. It is also evident from a statement of the Indian environment minister who admitted that there was no scientific proof to support the idea that the melting of the Himalayan glaciers was being caused by global warming. A report in the August 10, 2009 issue of Current Science journal of India said that the “Siachen Glacier has not been affected by the rise in global temperatures.” Jammu University scientists have also claimed that the “Himalayan glaciers, including the world’s highest battlefield Siachen, are melting not because of global warming.” The prevailing evidence therefore points towards extraordinary activity of the Indian army, the infrastructure being established and huge explosive storages on the eastern side of the Saltoro Ridge.

The effects of thawing of glaciers and particularly Siachen Glacier, being the largest in the region, are going to be devastating. However, there exists little awareness among the world community regarding the causes of this phenomenon. After clarifications of scientific experts and Indian officials themselves, it leaves not even an iota of doubt that the rapid shrinkage of the Siachen Glacier is due to chemical and explosive storage and cutting of glacial ice by the Indian army and not by global warming.

The de-icing of glaciers is not only hazardous for the food security of the region, particularly for the Indus Basin area, it is equally disadvantageous to the world’s mountaineering expeditions that commence their journey from this area. The area contains the highest peaks of the world like K2 and Nanga Parbat and remains attractive to world hikers. Ensuring a pollution-free and safe environment is the joint responsibility of all. It must be appreciated that war-specific developments are a death sentence for Himalayan glaciers. Blaming only global warming for rapid defrosting is a false impression being created deliberately by India with a view to covering up the serious and catastrophic environmental crime its army is committing. It is therefore a moral obligation of the world community and United Nations to take notice of the Indian army’s activities in Siachen and ensure that the Himalayan glaciers are not disturbed. Their deterioration would not only be detrimental to food safety, it would also be catastrophic to global environmental efforts. The global environment and human right experts and activists  may realize one day that they have stains of this blood on their ignorance and not putting enough pressure on Pakistan and India to demilitarize the GLACIER



  • Military Activity Driving Rapid Glacier Melting

Zofeen Ebrahim interviews ARSHAD ABBASI, advocate of the demilitarisation of the largest Himalayan glacier*

KARACHI, Dec 15, 2009 (IPS/TerraViva) – For the past several years, water expert Arshad H. Abbasi has been calling attention to the environmental degradation of the Siachen Glacier, one of the Himalayan glaciers and the largest in the world outside of the polar regions.

Situated on the strategic tri-junction of India, China and Pakistan, the glacier is considered a climate regulator and an “ecological source” for South Asia, says Abbasi.

Dubbed the world’s highest battleground, at 21,000 feet above sea level, the 77-kilometre-long glacier has been melting rapidly due to military presence in the region. Since 1984, India and Pakistan have been laying claim to the ice mass, where fighting between the two states has been going on intermittently since April 1984.

Troops on both sides have played irrevocable havoc with the region’s biodiversity, ecology and hydrology, says Abbasi, former director of the Planning Commission of Pakistan and now advisor to the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, a policy-oriented, research institute based in Islamabad.

Experts say human-induced climate change has contributed significantly to alarming changes in climate patterns that, among others, are affecting the rate at which glaciers melt, triggering a wave of natural disasters such as increased incidence of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

According to estimates, about 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere daily due to burning of fuel for the sustenance of the troops and transportation of war material by land and air. Both India and Pakistan spend a million dollars a day to maintain their troops at Siachen — an enormous amount that, experts say, can go a long way to fight poverty and hunger that beset both countries.

Three percent of the casualties between the two forces fighting over the glacier are due to hostile fighting; the rest are attributed to the altitude, weather and avalanches.

Calling the Siachen conflict a war between the glacier and humans, not one between India and Pakistan, Abbasi says the 97 percent casualties point to that, because a majority of soldiers sustain frostbite and injuries caused by accidents arising from snowstorms and other natural causes, and very rarely from crossfire.

In an interview with IPS, Abbasi explains why the only war worth fighting is protecting the glacier and preserving the fragile ecology of the glacial ice, which may not be there for too long for the two sides to continue fighting over.

Q: How and when did you begin calling for the demilitarisation of the Siachen Glacier?

A: It began when I received the first satellite imagery (of the Himalayan glaciers) and compared it with the status of the glacial mass in 1978. The most significant ice-mass loser was Siachen. I shared the images with the director-general of the Meteorological Department, who told me that the glacier was overburdened by the armies of both countries (India and Pakistan).

Q: Why is the melting of Siachen catastrophic for the South Asian region?

A: In the last 25 years, the glacier has been reduced to 35 percent and is retreating three dimensionally, thinning vertically at an alarming rate, as well as retreating horizontally, at approximately more than 100 metres per year.

The melting of Siachen and other glaciers due to this (India-Pakistan) conflict is already causing variance in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, but its worst impact on global sea level rise remains under-estimated and understudied. Rising sea level is the most serious threat to the populations living on and along the coast.

Q: Is it unprecedented compared to other glaciers in the Himalayas?

A: Yes, the recession is unprecedented when you compare it to other neighbouring Himalayan glaciers like Bara Shigri, Gangotri and Chhota Shigri.

Q: Can you cite the factors that have contributed to the accelerated melting of the Siachen glacier?

A: Permanent base camps on the glacier, cantonments in its vicinity, hourly helicopter flights to retrieve wounded or sick soldiers and dropping off supplies, dumping military garbage and human waste, laying of 120-km-long oil pipeline for heating igloos, keeping rifles warm over kerosene stoves, melting the snow for machine guns by keeping them in boiling water, construction of bunkers by cutting and melting glacial ice millions of years old by sprinkling chemicals and (using) mechanical methods; and using glaciers as roads to reach the last base camps – Kamar and Indra – (these are) causing severe environmental degradation to the glacier.

Q: What to your mind is the solution to the pillaging of the Siachen Glacier?

A: Urgent demilitarisation by negotiating an honourable withdrawal and ban on mountaineering and other development activities near glacier regions. This would be the greatest relief for the Siachen and other Himalayan glaciers as direct human interference will come to a halt. The daily, rather hourly, aviation activities will be over. The glaciers would again grow or at least remain stable.

Q: The idea of a Siachen science park and a peace zone has been floated for years. What is your take on it?

A: I only support the idea of preservation of glaciers but not that of a science park. In Antarctica, since the last many decades, scientists conducting research from different nations have so far failed to develop any technique to preserve glaciers. On the other hand, their presence has made the continent vulnerable and (the glacier) is melting at an accelerated rate.

Q: You were present at the three-day Track-II Dialogue on Conflict Resolution and Peace Building (held in Bangkok on Oct. 7 to 9) between the two adversaries in Bangkok. Was there anything significant discussed there that gave you hope?

A: In the Pak-India track II dialogue, demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier was discussed. Major Gen Dipankar Banerjee, who served in Siachen, is taking a keen interest to convince Indian policymakers to save this glacier from melting. Other experts on both sides also held similar views. Preserving the Siachen and other Himalayan glaciers, they said, was in the best interest of both countries and the world at large.

It is time civil society, independent researchers and media, from both sides began pressing their respective governments to save and preserve the glaciers, especially the Siachen. I would also urge both sides to get an independent audit of the glacial ice-balance to compare what it was back, say, in 1984, with (what it is) now to get an idea of the damage caused (by military presence at Siachen).

(*This story appears in the IPS TerraViva online daily published for the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen.)



  • Zee News:

Siachen glacier melting fast due to military activity: study

Last Updated: Saturday, December 30, 2006, 00:00

Islamabad, Dec 30: Siachen glacier has been melting alarmingly more due to military activity of India and Pakistan than global warming, a new study has said.

Siachen glacier was rapidly melting because of the ongoing military activity at the highest flashpoint of the world, according to the study conducted by Arshad H Abbasi, a consultant for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“Siachen is weeping, tomorrow the world will cry,” the excerpts of the study, pubished in the local daily The News, say.

Siachen is the longest glacier in the non-polar regions from where the Nubara river originates and is a source of the Indus river in Pakistan which caters to 75 per cent of its irrigational requirements.

Another study conducted by Pakistan’s Ministry of Water and Power confirmed the decline of cold temperatures in Siachen. Pakistan Meteorological Department on November 25 last year informed the government that the Himalayan glaciers, particularly Siachen, have been receding for the last 30 years, with losses accelerating to alarming levels in the past decade.

“We are very much concerned over the development, but human activity with regard to the Siachen war could not be stopped until and unless the peoples of the two countries exert pressure upon their respective governments to stop the war,” it quoted an official as saying.

The studies reportedly pointed out that during the last two decades, the melting of Siachen glacier has now been bracketed amongst the fastest in the world. Its retreat is evident from the snout (base of the glacier) and through the continuous thinning of ice along its entire length. Siachen, along with several other major tributary glaciers, reduced their volume by 35 per cent during the last twenty years and retreating at the rate of 110 metres per year.



Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Shahbaz  On April 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing;Spec the last two articles about fast melting of the glacier due to war

    Muhammad Shahbaz Thuthaal

  • FM  On April 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    India is being presented every thing in plate

    The news is just in. The spokesman of MFA has broken the news
    that India has offered help in Siachin which has been welcomed.
    The surveillance by India is denied by spending effort and
    expenditure Which is colossal and here it is in plate. This govt offering this
    opportunity. Army must put its foot down if it has not taken Satu as
    Sh Rashid says.

  • Aslam Durrani  On April 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    India knows how to inflict injuries and then to inflict even greater ones by rubbing salt on the wounds. Pakistan should come up with a strong straight forward response demanding withdrawal of Indian troops from Siachin and asking for settlement of the more important disputes between the two neighbors. Diplomatic niceties are a suitable tool for promoting sincere offers of resolving the disputes; they are not relevant in repelling the sugarcoated insults. Such gestures of ‘cooperation’ by Indian occupiers are insulting to the Pakistani nation and the bereaved families suffering the loss of their loved ones.


  • Rauf  On April 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    One could see some satellite images of massive clouds hovering in the region, which
    could linger around for almost two days, resulting heavy snowfalls. Any one wish to
    see, please visit

  • Bashir A. Syed  On April 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Knowing the uses of “HAARP,” it is quite likely that this “Weather Modification Weapon” might have been used to cause an AVALANCHE near SAICHIN GLACIER. Such thoughts have not only been presented in a DVD, “CONSPIRACY THEORY with Jesse Ventura (former Governer of Minnesota, a wrestler, and a Navy Seal), but also seconded in a brief article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, under ” the topic of Weather Modification,” and can be searched through their archives posted at (use Google search engine). Iblees never sleeps!

    B. A. Syed

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