As the mission of looking for the trapped soldiers and civilians in the Giari sector enters its third week, it is important to make note of a few facts about the Siachen Glacier. The average winter snowfall on the glacier is 35 feet and temperatures in the area can dip to as low as -50 degrees Celsius. India and Pakistan have deployed thousands of troops on the glacier, which has taken away the lives of over 2,000 soldiers from both sides, mostly due to the weather conditions, rather than through combat.The stubborn posture of both the armies, facing off against each other in what should have been a no-man’s land, is inexplicable.
While it is heartening to see that India and Pakistan are opening up new trade routes and enhancing cultural ties, it is also about time that the Siachen Glacier is made a war-free zone and converted into a peace park, frequented only by tourists and researchers, and never by soldiers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.