People may find this BRM piece interesting. http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/ISSUE6-1/Siachen.html
Here Pavan Nair highlighted a common motif presented in discussions on the Siachen Glacier conflict; i.e. what is the exact strategic significance of the glacier? Moreover, could it be handled differently?
In a reply to this, participants Praneet N, Y I Patel, and Ray responded with the following points;
1) Keeping the Pakistanis off Siachen is critical to maintaining the security of the Nubra Valley. If the Pakistanis were to somehow secure the village of Dzingrulma at the snout of the glacier, they would be able to put the entire Nubra Valley within artillery range.
2) Holding the Saltoro Ridge on the west of the Siachen Glacier opens up the possibility of interdicting any Pakistani moves towards the Indian town of Chalunkha. The town of Chalunkha has very little depth due to its geography on the Indian side; the loss of Chalunkha would impose immense costs on the main lines of communication in the region.
3) By deflecting the threat to Chalunkha and Dzingrulma, we protect key passes (the Khardung Pass and the Saser Pass) in the region and close the gap that existed between the Shyok and Nubra rivers. This is essential to preserving the security of Leh and other key military positions along the Northern end of the Line of Actual Control with China.
In another post, Y I Patel added another aspect to the strategic significance of Siachen:
"The Saltoro Ridge, simply put, acts as the wedge that keeps India's door to Central Asia open. It may be pertinent to note here that during Mughal times Surat and Bharuch were among India's richest cities, thanks to the trade between India and Arabia. The prosperity was further boosted by commerce resulting from the Silk Route paths that passed over the Himalayas and connected China and Central Asia to the Middle East via India. The glory of Bharuch port is but a memory, but geographical verities remain constant with time. It is still shorter, for example, to get to Urmuqi (the capital of Chinese Xinjiang province) from Kandla rather than Hong Kong."
"There are Buddha statues in Mongolia, even in Siberia. They bear witness to the Indian cultural values that were transmitted to the remote reaches of Central Asia by Indian traders and monks. The geography remains the same, and those ancient routes can now be transformed to interstate highways and broad gauge railways."
"It is in my appreciation of the importance of Saser and Karakoram passes. I do not see them as letting China in; I see them as letting India out to China and through it to the other countries of Central Asia. That thought may have been too "visionary" just a few months ago, but if Nathu La will see traders plying their wares to Tibet again, can Karakoram La be far behind? This, ultimately, is what India's young sons are shedding blood in Siachen for. ....But portraying the Battle for Karakoram as a senseless or petty struggle does grave injustice to the brave young Indians who have paid in their blood to keep this door open."
The poster Ray appreciated the originality of Y I Patel's thesis, and its relevance:
"Pakistan could link up POK to China - that was their original intention. That is why they extended the line from NJ9842.
While I (Ray) was inward looking, he (Y I Patel) is outward looking and aggressively fresh. I looked at Karakorum as China connecting to it. Y I Patel looked at it better – (as) our gateway into China!"