Army chief Naravane at Siachen. | @NorthernComd_IA | Twitter
Army chief Naravane at Siachen. | @NorthernComd_IA | Twitter
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New Delhi: Newly-appointed Chief of Army Staff General M.M. Naravane made his maiden visit to the forward posts in Siachen sector Thursday.

Siachen is the highest battlefield of the world. The glacier is situated at an altitude of above 18,000 feet, where the temperature can dip to as low as -70°C.

The Army said General Naravane interacted with troops deployed at the forward posts in Siachen, and praised their tenacity and high morale despite extreme challenges posed by the harsh weather conditions, difficult terrain and other high-altitude conditions.

“We are aware that everyone operating here faces very tough conditions, inhospitable terrain and weather. We are doing our best to make sure what whatever is required by the troops is made available to them including clothing and better rations,” Naravane said in Siachen.

The Army said Naravane assured the troops of support from the country and the Army in carrying out their duties at Siachen.

He also laid a wreath at the iconic Siachen War Memorial to honour the personnel who died in the line of duty.

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On Friday, the Army chief will carry out an aerial recce of the forward locations on the Line of Control and the Line of Actual Control.

‘Morale booster for the troops’

A troop strength of nearly 35,000 personnel are deployed in high-altitude areas across the eastern and northern commands of the Army.

At any point, there are over 2,000 personnel posted in and around Siachen.

Senior Army officers told ThePrint that visits of senior officers, more so of the Army chief, is a huge morale booster for the troops who brave harsh weather conditions at Siachen.

“The troops at Siachen face the maximum hardships. So, the chief visiting Siachen shows solidarity with the troops and motivates them. It also helps the troops get a first-hand account of the current security situation there,” an Army officer said.

Government figures released in 2018 showed a total of 869 soldiers have died in Siachen since 1984 due to climatic conditions, environmental and other factors.

The Army had lost 167 personnel in Siachen in the last 10 years, while 74 Army personnel died in snow avalanches in the last four years, according to the government data.

Weather conditions in the avalanche-prone areas of Jammu and Kashmir are currently monitored by the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) station at Sasoma and Srinagar.

Also read: Army chief Naravane must hold back on China border issue till Tibet is settled


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