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Indian soldiers ready for blizzard winter in Siachen

Unmindful of India-Pakistan talks, Indian soldiers prepare themselves for yet another harsh Siachen winter.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 16:16 IST

While Indo-Pak political leaders continue theirefforts to demilitarise the world's highest battlefield, Indian soldiers on the battlefront prepare themselves for yet another harsh winter.

The 72 km-long Siachen glacier, where temperature dips to 60 degrees below freezing point and the annual cumulative snowfall is 10 to 15 meters long, is an issue which is likely to figure in the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks starting on Tuesday in the capital.

While the two countries have come to a broad consensus on demilitarizing the glacier, the hitch remains on modalities for putting in a monitoring mechanism to ensure that neither side surreptitiouslyre-occupies the glacier's heights.

Unmindful of these parleys, for the soldiers guarding icy heights ranging from 6000 to 7000 metres, it is business as usual-vigil on the frosty glacier.

"We are fighting two enemies. Weather conditions are more of an enemy than the real enemy," commander of the Siachen Brigade Brigadier Om Prakash told a group of visiting journalists in Siachen.

Apart from stockpiling of boots, warm clothes, special ration like dry fruits and juice, soldiers are readying themselves with training on ice-craft, how to operate weapons and survival technique in extreme conditions. Besides, they are being trained how to spend longer periods in fibre glass huts, bunkers, ice caves and ice tunnels.

"Seventy nine per cent posts of our brigade are located above 16,000 feet while the Bana post is located at a height of 21,753 feet. So you can well imagine the degree of difficulty," Brigadier Prakash said.

First Published: Nov 11, 2006 16:16 IST