40 Years of Operation Meghdoot

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The Indian Army recently commemorated 40 years since 'Operation Meghdoot' began, securing the Siachen Glacier.

About Operation Meghdoot

  • It was the code-name for the Indian Armed Forces operation to capture the Siachen Glacier, a strategically crucial region dominating Northern Ladakh.
  • Siachen has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan ever since the Karachi Agreement of 1949, when the area was left undivided due to the hostile terrain and extremely rough weather.
  • Operation Meghdoot was India’s bold military response to what New Delhi calls Pakistan’s “cartographic aggression” in the uncharted territory of Ladakh, north of map reference NJ9842, where New Delhi and Islamabad had agreed the Line of Control (LoC) ran up to.
  • Intelligence inputs about impending Pakistani military action prompted India to secure strategic heights on Siachen, deploying troops via airlifts and air-dropping supplies to high-altitude airfields.
  • The primary objective behind this operation was to pre-empt the seizure of Sia La and Bilafond La passes by the Pakistan Army.
  • Launched on April 13, 1984, this military operation was unique as the first assault launched on the world's highest battlefield.
  • It was launched under the leadership of Lieutenant General Manohar Lal Chibber, Lieutenant General PN Hoon, and Major General Shiv Sharma.
  • It is distinguished by being one of the greatest examples of seamless coordination and synergy between the Indian Army and the Air Force.
  • The military action resulted in Indian troops gaining control of the entire Siachen Glacier.
  • Strategic Importance of the Siachen:
    • Located at a height of around 20,000 feet in the Karakoram Mountain range, the Siachen Glacier is known as the highest militarised zone around the world.
    • It is located so strategically that while it dominates Shaksgam Valley (ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963) in the north, controls the routes coming from Gilgit Baltistan to Leh from the west, and at the same time, it dominates the ancient Karakoram Pass in the eastern side too.
    • Further, towards the west, it observes nearly the entire of the Gilgit Baltistan, which too is an Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan in 1948.

Q1: What is a Glacier?

Glaciers are massive bodies of slowly moving ice. Glaciers form on land, and they are made up of fallen snow that gets compressed into ice over many centuries. They move slowly downward from the pull of gravity.

Source: Indian Army celebrates 40 years of 'Operation Meghdoot' on Siachen Glacier