So, the Siachen glacier has melted to half its size, or so says a recent study. From the 150 km over which we thought we had frosty control, we’re down to a lukewarm stretch just short of four score. Threats about global warming are back and maybe now it’s time to warm up to the idea. Could this just be the wild card that can help us clear the air up there?
It now seems that the icy heights that have led to many a glacial face-off could very well provide the much-needed thaw in Indo-Pak relations. For while we continue to train our guns on each other, one issue has flitted in and out of focus: the glacier itself is the melting pot of over two decades worth of waste that’s buried deeper than the origins of rival claims. Oh, and it’s definitely not spent shell casings that are turning up the heat, since those receding ice sheets are hiding much more than the true costs of engagement. Because even though soldiers come and go every six months, they leave more than just their chilly posts behind.
Imagine all that burden of history sliding down the Indus, into the taps and tubs of Karachi and Islamabad. What began as a battleground of rival mountaineering expeditions might just become ground zero for the beginning of the end. One wonders if we can finally be bhai-bhai, if we are forced to kiss this zone of contention bye-bye.