MBA Aspirants are expected to know the happenings which might affect Indian foreign policy, thus impacting all of us. Today, you will read on: Why Siachen is strategically important for India?
Ever since the division of British India into two dominions of India and Pakistan, the relation between the two has always been on thin ice. Siachen, the highest battleground on the face of earth, situated in the frigid valleys of Kashmir has been the hotspot where the clashes and tension have reached the boiling point.
The treacherous terrain has claimed many lives ever since India established control over the unoccupied and not demarcated areas of 70km long Siachen glacier and its tributary glaciers securing more than 1,000 square miles (3,000 square km) of territory.
The conflict began in the spring of 1984 with India’s successful execution of Operation Meghdoot , thereby gaining foothold of Siachen as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier—Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La.
The roots of the conflict lie in non-demarcations on the map northward to the China boundary beyond NJ9842, which is the dead end in the India-Pakistan line of control agreement. The 1949 Karachi agreement and the 1972 Shimla agreement presumed that no one would struggle for control of an uninhabited glacial area. Prior to 1984, neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence in the area.
The expeditions into the no man’s land by both countries in late 1970’s heightened the tensions. The peak, located east of Siachen, overlooks the eastern areas of the Aksai Chin. The Indian military believed that expeditions by their counterpart would provide a link for the western and eastern routes - the trade route leading to Karakoram Pass and China - and eventually provide a tactical advantage to both Pakistan and China.
With specific intelligence of an impending Pakistani operation, India launched Operation Meghdoot under the commandership of Lieutenant General PN Hoon. It involved airlifting of Indian soldiers by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and dropping them on the glacial peaks. The operation forestalled the Pakistani operations by 4 days and Pakistanis found 300 men battalion dug into highest mountaintops on 17 April, 1984.
Ever since the Indian Army controls the heights, holding on to the tactical advantage of high ground.The concerns of the Indian Army over Siachen glacier are huge and genuine though Pakistan continues to regard it as part of its Northern Areas, which it had forcibly annexed in 1947. India cannot afford to sacrifice Siachen when proxy war is still on and when innumerable terrorist camps continue to remain in operation in PoK.
Jammu and Kashmir has been an integral part of Indian dominion backed by the legal document known as Instrument of Accession executed by Maharajah Hari Singh, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947, thereby agreeing to accede to the Dominion of India . Occupation of Siachen is therefore occupation of Indian Territory by the Indian Army and is thus non-negotiable.