Siachen News & Discussion

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AmanC
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Postby AmanC » 10 May 2006 21:04

Guys, just came back from a visit to Siachen, Thoise and Leh conducted after a request was made to WAC C-in-C Air Marshal AK Singh. In a fe words, morale is high, motivation sky high and ppl are not worried about de-militarisation talks. As we all know it is a tough life there but ceasefire or not, powder is dry and Pakis hould thank their stars it is not being used.

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Postby svinayak » 10 May 2006 21:59

Rye wrote:Karan wrote:
Does anyone else think that, Instead of Unkil it may be china behind all this faracas. Is pakistan the real beneficiary of this withdrawl or is it chinese who will ultimately benefit from it. Right Now, Our position give us some advantage over karakoram HWY. If we leave and pakistani's move in, what if Mushy will immediately gifts that area of chinese, it makes it defacto territory of china, where chinese will breath down our neck. Chinese will have direct road access to Arabian Gulf, they will be able to move men and material at rapid pace.


This raises the question: what is in it for the US to support china to gain access to Gwadar --- are they just trying to make Mushy's musharraf more secure, given all the troubles he's got right now.


Uncle was also in when the first Gwader plan was created. This overland access to China has support from various powers.

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Postby Sonugn » 11 May 2006 17:59

This should end all speculation
No troop pull out from Siachen, says Defence Minister Mukherjee
http://www.newkerala.com/news2.php?acti ... s&id=57657
Defence Minister Pranab Mukhejee today in the Lok Sabha said that the 4,000 troops would not be pulled out from the Siachen Glacier
The information was given in a written reply and assumes significance as reports said that New Delhi and Islamabad were inching closer to an agreement on the glacier issue
The strategic importance of Saltoro Hills can be gauged from the fact that it takes only four days to enter into Indian Territory from Pakistan’s side despite extremely narrow routes.

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Postby A Sharma » 11 May 2006 18:13


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Postby Kakkaji » 14 May 2006 07:18

No war or peace on Siachen, just ceasefire
[quote]
Now the Indian Air Force has flown a team of journalists here because the lookouts in the Pakistani posts may see but may not fire. The visit is part of a build-up to the meeting of the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries slated for May 23. On the table are options to de-militarise the glacier.

But soldiers and officers on the ground believe that freezing the war in Siachen will be as easy as stopping the glacier from melting into the Nubra river.

“The weather here is so harsh and the passes so high that only the best of friends and the fiercest of enemies shall meet,â€

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Postby putnanja » 14 May 2006 08:27

Coming down from the heights

Senior opposition leaders, particularly of the BJP, have been sharply critical of the government’s reported moves to demilitarise Siachen. While their stridency could be put down in part to the need to sound overtly patriotic during election time, it is indeed surprising that none of the leaders of the Congress Party or the UPA alliance thought it fit to respond. Neither have the government’s media managers taken it upon themselves to counter rumours. Once again a major national security issue is being subjected to partisan politics.

This is a major step forward and must be seen as such. What needs to be debated is whether this would serve the purpose of providing a reference line for future disputes, or whether India must continue to stick to its stated position that the present deployments must be accepted by both sides and that the AGPL must be demarcated. It is well-known that the latter option would kill the agreement, as it did in 1989 and 1992, and the troops would remain deployed in perpetuity on the icy heights. Hence, it is not a serious option. The issue of trust is more complex. After Pakistan’s treachery in Kargil, and its lukewarm policy towards ending its support for terrorism against India, it is difficult for India’s establishment to trust Pakistan. The decision has been made even more difficult by the army’s professional judgment that in case the Pakistan army surreptitiously occupies posts vacated, it will be almost impossible to take them back at heights above 20,000 feet. However, given political will, the army can open another front and must prepare for such an eventuality.

Trust begets trust and it is worth-taking a political and military risk to give peace a chance. The demilitarisation of Siachen is a low-risk option to test Pakistan’s long-term intentions. The government must begin the process of building a national consensus around this important measure.

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Postby Ujjal » 14 May 2006 12:49

I don't know if this was posted before or not...

A movie about Siachen - "Siachen - A War for ice"

Trailer here

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Postby khan » 14 May 2006 18:23

I think the Siachen concerns are a little overblown.

We have already fought Kargil and learnt the lessons. We aren't going to send people uphill on Suicide missions again when Bombing/Harassing/Starving the infiltrators will do the job. Should the Pakis renidge on their Siachen commitments, all we will have to do is maintain air-superiority over the area to deny them chopper support. In a few months, everyone will be dead.

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Postby RayC » 14 May 2006 18:30

khan wrote:I think the Siachen concerns are a little overblown.

We have already fought Kargil and learnt the lessons. We aren't going to send people uphill on Suicide missions again when Bombing/Harassing/Starving the infiltrators will do the job. Should the Pakis renidge on their Siachen commitments, all we will have to do is maintain air-superiority over the area to deny them chopper support. In a few months, everyone will be dead.


Kargil was no suicide missions.

Bombing/Harassing/Starving will not to do job.

If India vacates and Pakistan occupies, then they would not been infiltrators but regular army.

Once entrenched they will be difficult or impossible to dislodge.

Minimum acclimatization would be 21 days + time it takes to discover the PA has taken over the heights.

India would have thus wasted the number of lives that it has so far to be in the Siachen as also millions of Rupees spent.

In fact, if there is any word like underblown, I think that would be more appropriate.

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Postby NRao » 14 May 2006 18:40

Khanji,

The calculus becomes a lot more complicated if China decides to lay claim to certain areas.

The other area of interest is that Siachen - IF vacated - will always keep us sleepless. Pakistan (and China) can go about doing whatever and then turn up the heat when they want. Vacating the area will be like having a noose tied around our necks. Now, if we can get them to pay a LOT more for any breaking of rules, then it is different matter. But based on history we have never done that. I mean, we need some serious war reparations or the like.

Also, my fear is that countries like the US can play mischief and hold the situation as hostage. In fact I am a lot more concerned about this than sanctions from the US.

Finally, India never acts, we always react. That is a major concern in a situation like this.

There is a cost associated with vacating Siachen. I think the cost to take it back will be a lot more.

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Postby Gerard » 15 May 2006 01:47

Siachen map delineation must: V P Malik
Islamabad cannot be trusted on words, Malik says as he articulates that 1999 Kargil intrusion was not the only time, Pakistan had bared its designs on the glacier.

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Postby Kakkaji » 15 May 2006 03:08

A ggod read despite some stupid stereotypes:

Kanyakumari to Siachen’s secular heights
[quote]
Siachen Glacier Base Camp, May 13: A Bengali officer whose Tamil is better than his Hindi, a Jat commander from Haryana, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from Jammu and Kashmir, Buddhists from Ladakh — the composition of the Indian military forces ranged against Pakistan’s largely Islamicised army in the Siachen frontier presents a microcosm of India’s plural society in the toughest of battle zones.

Advancements in medicine and technology have combined with a two-decade-old habit of war-making in forbidding heights for the Indian Army to dig deep into its human resources. The army is now able to deploy soldiers from as far away as Kanyakumari’s tropical climes — soldiers who would have the greatest difficulty acclimatising in the glacial terrain — at posts 12,000-22,000 feet high, where oxygen is rare and breathing a burden on the lungs.

With its current deployment along the Saltoro Range that flanks the Siachen Glacier and overlooks Pakistani positions across the Actual Ground Position Line, the military has scaled heights of secularism in this frontier that is an advertisement for Indian multiculturalism at its best.

For a large part of the area under its responsibility, the Siachen Brigade has deployed battalions from the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, the Madras Regiment and the Ladakh Scouts. Of the three, the Madras Regiment is the biggest surprise. Soldiers of the regiment are drawn almost wholly from south of the Vindhyas. The battalion is commanded by an officer who describes himself as a “A Bong by birth and Tamil by practiceâ€

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Postby Aditya G » 16 May 2006 10:53

IAF press expedition in Siachen has resulted in some good reports;

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060514/j&k.htm#3

Mi-17s scale new heights
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Siachen, May 13

Flying over the icy heights of the world’s highest battlefield, IAF helicopter pilots have a new feat to talk about. They have taken the newly inducted Mi-17 V1 helicopters to altitudes close to 18,000 feet (unlike 17,000 ft for oler Mi-17s) to conduct parachute drops. This implies vastly increased logistic support to posts at greater heights.

Never in aviation history have helicopters of this size been taken to such heights under such trying conditions. Operational requirements coupled with skill and guts have led the pilots to re-define flying parameters, often pushing the machines beyond the limitations mentioned in the books.

The IAF has now started para-drops over Sonam, among the highest and most important forward posts on the glacier. Sonam overlooks the relatively flat ground along Bilafond La Pass, one of the two passes through which intrusions into the southern glacier are possible.

We began trials for para-drops over Sonam about a year ago and now we do it on a regular basis,’’ Sqn Ldr Siddharth Rawat, a Mi-17 pilot with No 130 Helicopter Unit, the Condors, said.

Pilots say that the service ceiling of the Mi-17 V1, as stated by the manufacturer, is six kilometres (about 18,000 feet) and that too under dense air conditions. In the rarified atmosphere of the Siachen area, conditions are much different, where at certain times of the day aircraft cannot operate because the air is not dense enough due to climatic conditions.

Para-drops over Sonam, which has witnessed bloody battles between Indian and Pakistani troops in the past, became feasible only after the induction of the helicopter’s V1 version, which is more powerful than the original Mi-17s. In fact, the Condors was the first unit to re-equip with the V1 models.

Flying to Sonam has its fair share of the hazards associated with flying at that height and in that terrain. It is a 55-minute sortie from Base Camp to the drop zone, flying between imposing snow-clad peaks and battling constant winds and down drafts, which threaten to slam the chopper into the valley if the pilots are not too careful. The ground is totally white, risking white-outs, a condition where it is difficult to differentiate the ground from the air. Such are the terrain and the flying conditions that the air speed of the helicopter is just 120 to 140 km per hour, compared to the 450 kmph it can normally fly up to. Even the load is restricted and is generally kept under 1,000 kg, though it keeps varying as per requirements and climatic conditions.

To be among those who can achieve such feats is not easy. Every pilot to aspires to be the captain of a helicopter undertaking such sorties has to fly at least 75 sorties in such terrain. Before he is finally cleared to be the pilot-in-command, he has to undertake two sorties as a captain under the watchful eyes of a supervisor.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060512/nation.htm#11

Image

It is business as usual for Indian Air Force
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Siachen Base Camp, May 11
The guns have fallen silent across the Line of Control (LoC), but for the IAF’s men in blue there has been no let-up in maintaining the vital air bridge to the world’s highest battlefield.

On the ground, the ceasefire has been holding out for the past about two-and-a-half years, with the troops stationed atop the frozen, desolate heights of Siachen breathing a little easy. In the air, however, it is business as usual as it has been for over two decades for the simple reason that the men on the ground are still there and they have to be kept supplied with essential items come what may.

As a chilly dawn breaks over the craggy, snow-capped peaks, the whirl of rotor blades breaks the silence as the first wave of helicopters lift off the tarmac at the 11,000 feet high Base Camp and disappear into the mountains to add yet another chapter to what has become the longest sustained airlift operation in history.

‘‘Operationally, for us there has been no change,’’ says Sqn Ldr S. Rawat, a Mi-17 pilot, who ferried The Tribune team to Base Camp from Thoise. ‘‘We continue to fly as we used to when things were hot,’’ he added. Flying to Base Camp and onwards to the glacier, navigation assumes a different meaning, with compasses and navigation charts becoming secondary.

Departing from Shyok valley, where Thoise airfield is situated, pilots turn into the Nubra Valley, relying on their skills and experience to navigate along the river’s twisting course and manoeuvre around high mountains and barren features. At an altitude of around 18,000 feet over the glacier, the temperature in the chopper’s open cabin dipped to minus 15 degrees Celsius. ‘‘There is no straight flying. One has to negotiate the terrain every inch of the way through visual contact,’’ a pilot said.

Helicopter sorties are launched every day to Siachen Glacier and Sub Sector North adjoining China. It was the launching of Operation Meghdoot in 1984, that kicked-of the IAF’s tryst of conquering a surreal world of barren mountains and frozen masses of ice, where it emerged with flying colours and etched its name in the record books.

The number of sorties and load to be airlifted vary from day to day, depending upon the weather and temperature conditions as well as operational requirements. ‘‘Last year we set an all-time record of air dropping 110 tonnes from helicopters in a single day,’’ Wg Cdr V.P. Singh, officiating Station Commander, Thoise, said.

Even if there is no enemy fire aimed at choppers from across the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), which demarcates Indian and Pakistani positions, procedures for flying in a hostile environment continue to be followed.

‘‘Whenever we carry out drop sorties or landings on the glacier, we take all precautions as a matter of routine,’’ Wg Cdr S. Maingi. Commanding Officer of 130 Helicopter Unit, said. ‘‘We plan our flight path in such a manner so that visual exposure to the enemy is minimal. Close to AGPL, we try to ensure that there is always a relief feature between us and the enemy position,’’ he added.

His squadron maintains a four-helicopter detachment at Thoise, the IAF-northern most airfield and the forward base support unit for executing air operations to maintain posts in Siachen. Pilots and helicopters come to Thoise for a month before being rotated back. Detachments are done alternately by two helicopter units.

Air maintenance begins in Chandigarh, from where a constant stream of the giant IL-76, the lifeline to Thoise, and the smaller AN-32 ferry in supplies, including fresh and tinned rations, fuel, ammunition, mail and ordnance. At Thoise, the load is either ferried to drop zones and helipads by the Mi-17 1Vs or taken by them to the Base Camp, from where it is airlifted by the Cheetahs of the Siachen Pioneers to heights which the heavier Mi-17s cannot reach.

Loads are also para-dropped by AN-32s operating out of Chandigarh, with Kumar and Rani drop zones, located at altitudes of 20,000 feet on the glacier being among the notable sites for such operations.

Flying in this region is not easy and aircraft operate on the outer fringes of the flight envelope, with altitude and climatic conditions adding to the pilots’ physiological and psychological stress levels. Pilots have to navigate through valleys, combating cross-winds and down drafts and white-outs due to snow, where it is difficult to distinguish the horizon.

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Postby Lalmohan » 16 May 2006 13:26

Does the IAF and IA have some form of combined command structure for Siachen Ops? Or does IA tell IAF what and when?

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Postby Aditya G » 16 May 2006 15:07

Does the IAF and IA have some form of combined command structure for Siachen Ops? Or does IA tell IAF what and when?


The latter. The only 'combined' command structure in a sense are the Hind squadrons, which operate under army strike corps.

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Postby Gerard » 17 May 2006 01:45

No reason to leave Siachen

Ashok K Mehta

The Daily Pioneer
http://www.dailypioneer.com
2006/05/16
posted in full since site does not archive

In 1996, a group of retired Indian Generals was invited on the fading RIMC Dehradun net to Pakistan. Mixed with Lahore's lavish hospitality was scintillating conversation with a young Pakistan Cavalry officer spending his last evening at sea level. He was one of every officer required to do a stint on Siachen. Was it worth it? he was asked. "My girlfriend is most impressed," he quipped. The young Rehman did not know he and his Army were nowhere near either Siachen or Saltoro and that then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had once derided the Pakistan Army for losing it's only post on Saltoro called Qaid (after the father of the nation MA Jinnah) - or was it simply jail?

It was renamed Bana after the PVC winner by that name. The story of Bana is encapsulated at 21,800 ft in a solitary igloo, size fit for six soldiers. On the Indian side, too, young officers volunteer to prove their manhood to sweethearts. One older soldier was not so lucky. He had to be treated for impotence. India's bravest and most highly decorated General of the time, ZC Bakshi used to say: "We should just hand over Siachen to the Pakistan Army provided it deploys a Brigade there."

Plenty of water has flown down the Shyok river in Nubra valley since 1984, when the Indian Army first occupied Saltoro in what Lt Gen ML Chhibber, one of the architects of the operation, described as a move to prevent an Aksai Chin like fait accompli. That self-inflicted injury has cost India nearly 650 fatal and 19,500 non-fatal casualties plus nearly Rs 20,000 crore. Every few years, speculation resurfaces about an impending Siachen settlement. And each time one or the other side adopts a glacial position. This time, it is India.

The ground reality has changed in Siachen. There is a nearly four-year long cease-fire, living conditions have improved significantly and technology has incrementally aided survival. Casualties due to snow hazard and arctic conditions have come down from 70 to below 10 per cent. Incentive is drawn from the Siachen allowance varying from Rs 3,000 and Rs 9,000 for soldiers and officers. There is the Siachen medal. The Army is, therefore, in no hurry to climb down.

India enjoys a significant terrain advantage on Saltoro. That does not necessarily transfer into strategic advantage though people mistakenly map out Siachen as a launch pad for retaking Northern Areas. If India vacated, Pakistan would then occupy Saltoro, and link up with China at Karakoram Pass. Together they could gobble up Ladakh. This is bizarre. Siachen retains nostalgia and prestige and with living conditions stabilised, the Indian position over withdrawal has hardened.

Three views have emerged on Siachen: Hold fast, come what may; just get out and let Pakistan bear the costs; and withdraw but under certain conditions. The Indian Army has made clear its position - delineate Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), authenticate, disengage and demilitarise, retaining a robust penalty clause. It has also said that it will go by any decision taken by the Government but warned that given Pakistan Army's track record in deceit and subterfuge it should not be asked to retake Saltoro because that would be nearly impossible.

Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed the hope that Siachen could be converted into a mountain of peace. Pakistan has consistently refused to defining the AGPL let alone acknowledging it as it believes India's occupation was a violation of the Simla Agreement and recognising the AGPL would legalise the breach.

Recently, the media had reported that the Government is under pressure from the US to breaking the Kashmir impasse by unlocking the LoC through a Siachen settlement, which would help General Pervez Musharraf in sending more troops to the Afghanistan front. Such a substantive confidence building measure (CBM), it was added, would spur the peace process.

It seems the two back channel interlocutors, Mr Satinder Lambah from India and Pakistan's Mr Tariq Aziz met in Dubai and hammered out a Siachen compromise agreement for an India-Pakistan summit in Islamabad later this year. According to this plan, India would attach the AGPL in an annexure, which Pakistan would receive without authenticating it. On its part Delhi would endorse copies of the AGPL annotated map and satellite photographs to the international community and the UN publicising its case. This arrangement relies heavily on trust of the Pakistan Army.

The defence establishment including Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is opposed to any agreement without authentication. BJP leader Jaswant Singh has spelt out four conditions before his party would support any agreement on Siachen. These are: Inviolability of AGPL, commitment of Pakistan against reoccupation, ensuring no terrain advantage to Pakistan in demilitarisation and a timetable for cleaning up the Siachen glacier. No attempt has been made to build a larger political consensus on the merits of a calculated withdrawal with inbuilt punitive provisions.

As for cleaning up Siachen, the glacier has been called the biggest cold storage and garbage dump in the world. There is a large inventory of weapons, ammunition and military stores and stocks for edible supplies for six months amounting to 12,000 tonne on the Indian side alone. At any one time, approximately 1,000 soldiers are deployed on the 85 km Saltoro Ridge.

This is approximately 15 to 20 km west of Siachen glacier. Waste generation on Saltoro - 95 per cent is biodegradable - is disposed of in location by incineration. The heat is employed for cooking and boiling water. Indian Army has done a commendable job in the ecological conservation of Siachen, and its presence is not detrimental to the environment.

The media blitz on a sellout of Siachen has put Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the defensive. We are reminded of a bad Indian habit of forfeiting military advantage to Pakistan by returning Haji Pir and Point 13620 in Kargil twice in 1965 and repatriating Pakistan prisoners and territory in 1971 without matching political gains. Once more, Siachen is being sacrificed on the political altar, it is alleged.

No one has come up with an innovative compromise. The faint voice of sanity in risking an unauthenticated withdrawal in the larger interest of India-Pakistan détente has been drowned in the cacophony of political rhetoric: Never trust the Pakistan Army. This way, the Army will remain hoist with its own petard.

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Postby NRao » 17 May 2006 02:01

The US pressure is for the benefit of the US - so that Mush will send troops to the western front - oh yeah.

American politicians and think tanks have no to very, very short memories.

Besides Americans should have realised by now that Mush is in no hurry to solve the American problems in A'stan.
Last edited by NRao on 17 May 2006 02:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Gerard » 17 May 2006 02:02


ramana
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Postby ramana » 18 May 2006 02:48

Op-Ed in Pioneer, 17 may 2006
No reason to leave Siachen

Ashok Mehta

In 1996, a group of retired Indian Generals was invited on the fading RIMC Dehradun net to Pakistan. Mixed with Lahore's lavish hospitality was scintillating conversation with a young Pakistan Cavalry officer spending his last evening at sea level. He was one of every officer required to do a stint on Siachen. Was it worth it? he was asked. "My girlfriend is most impressed," he quipped. The young Rehman did not know he and his Army were nowhere near either Siachen or Saltoro and that then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had once derided the Pakistan Army for losing it's only post on Saltoro called Qaid (after the father of the nation MA Jinnah) - or was it simply jail?

It was renamed Bana after the PVC winner by that name. The story of Bana is encapsulated at 21,800 ft in a solitary igloo, size fit for six soldiers. On the Indian side, too, young officers volunteer to prove their manhood to sweethearts. One older soldier was not so lucky. He had to be treated for impotence. India's bravest and most highly decorated General of the time, ZC Bakshi used to say: "We should just hand over Siachen to the Pakistan Army provided it deploys a Brigade there."

Plenty of water has flown down the Shyok river in Nubra valley since 1984, when the Indian Army first occupied Saltoro in what Lt Gen ML Chhibber, one of the architects of the operation, described as a move to prevent an Aksai Chin like fait accompli. That self-inflicted injury has cost India nearly 650 fatal and 19,500 non-fatal casualties plus nearly Rs 20,000 crore. Every few years, speculation resurfaces about an impending Siachen settlement. And each time one or the other side adopts a glacial position. This time, it is India.

The ground reality has changed in Siachen. There is a nearly four-year long cease-fire, living conditions have improved significantly and technology has incrementally aided survival. Casualties due to snow hazard and arctic conditions have come down from 70 to below 10 per cent. Incentive is drawn from the Siachen allowance varying from Rs 3,000 and Rs 9,000 for soldiers and officers. There is the Siachen medal. The Army is, therefore, in no hurry to climb down.

India enjoys a significant terrain advantage on Saltoro. That does not necessarily transfer into strategic advantage though people mistakenly map out Siachen as a launch pad for retaking Northern Areas. If India vacated, Pakistan would then occupy Saltoro, and link up with China at Karakoram Pass. Together they could gobble up Ladakh. This is bizarre. Siachen retains nostalgia and prestige and with living conditions stabilised, the Indian position over withdrawal has hardened.

Three views have emerged on Siachen: Hold fast, come what may; just get out and let Pakistan bear the costs; and withdraw but under certain conditions. The Indian Army has made clear its position - delineate Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), authenticate, disengage and demilitarise, retaining a robust penalty clause. It has also said that it will go by any decision taken by the Government but warned that given Pakistan Army's track record in deceit and subterfuge it should not be asked to retake Saltoro because that would be nearly impossible.

Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed the hope that Siachen could be converted into a mountain of peace. Pakistan has consistently refused to defining the AGPL let alone acknowledging it as it believes India's occupation was a violation of the Simla Agreement and recognising the AGPL would legalise the breach.

Recently, the media had reported that the Government is under pressure from the US to breaking the Kashmir impasse by unlocking the LoC through a Siachen settlement, which would help General Pervez Musharraf in sending more troops to the Afghanistan front. Such a substantive confidence building measure (CBM), it was added, would spur the peace process.

It seems the two back channel interlocutors, Mr Satinder Lambah from India and Pakistan's Mr Tariq Aziz met in Dubai and hammered out a Siachen compromise agreement for an India-Pakistan summit in Islamabad later this year. According to this plan, India would attach the AGPL in an annexure, which Pakistan would receive without authenticating it. On its part Delhi would endorse copies of the AGPL annotated map and satellite photographs to the international community and the UN publicising its case. This arrangement relies heavily on trust of the Pakistan Army.

The defence establishment including Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is opposed to any agreement without authentication. BJP leader Jaswant Singh has spelt out four conditions before his party would support any agreement on Siachen. These are: Inviolability of AGPL, commitment of Pakistan against reoccupation, ensuring no terrain advantage to Pakistan in demilitarisation and a timetable for cleaning up the Siachen glacier. No attempt has been made to build a larger political consensus on the merits of a calculated withdrawal with inbuilt punitive provisions.

As for cleaning up Siachen, the glacier has been called the biggest cold storage and garbage dump in the world. There is a large inventory of weapons, ammunition and military stores and stocks for edible supplies for six months amounting to 12,000 tonne on the Indian side alone. At any one time, approximately 1,000 soldiers are deployed on the 85 km Saltoro Ridge.

This is approximately 15 to 20 km west of Siachen glacier. Waste generation on Saltoro - 95 per cent is biodegradable - is disposed of in location by incineration. The heat is employed for cooking and boiling water. Indian Army has done a commendable job in the ecological conservation of Siachen, and its presence is not detrimental to the environment.
The media blitz on a sellout of Siachen has put Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the defensive. We are reminded of a bad Indian habit of forfeiting military advantage to Pakistan by returning Haji Pir and Point 13620 in Kargil twice in 1965 and repatriating Pakistan prisoners and territory in 1971 without matching political gains. Once more, Siachen is being sacrificed on the political altar, it is alleged.

No one has come up with an innovative compromise. The faint voice of sanity in risking an unauthenticated withdrawal in the larger interest of India-Pakistan détente has been drowned in the cacophony of political rhetoric: Never trust the Pakistan Army. This way, the Army will remain hoist with its own petard.



So back channel folks are using the Westphalian concept.

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Postby Gerard » 18 May 2006 05:43


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Postby Gerard » 19 May 2006 03:06

xpost

In national disinterest

Balbir K Punj

Daily Pioneer
http://www.dailypioneer.com
2006/05/18
posted in full since sites does not archive

How responsive is the UPA Government towards the external security imperatives of India? Two recent incidents put its obligation in grave doubt. On May 14, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while inaugurating the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO's) new office adjacent to South Block, said that India would soon embark on production of cutting edge technology weapons in sensors, robotics, propulsion systems, stealth and fighting wars through remote technology. There is also a plan for precision-guided munitions and unarmed vehicle technologies in the 11th and 12th plan period.

Top defence scientist M Natarajan of DRDO, who is also the scientific advisor to the Defence Minister, said his organisation was technically ready with the IRBM, the 4,000-km range Agni-III, and awaiting a nod from the Government for test-firing. His emphatic words "fired-off" speculations that the distance between DRDO and South Bloc had increased.

That "nod" is unlikely to come from the Government. On May 15, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said India was not going ahead with the Agni-III test. "Self-imposed restraint" was cited as the reason adding "as responsible members of the international community, we want to keep our international commitments on non-proliferation."

Agni-III is capable of carrying a nuclear payload. But what does the testing of a missile have to do with "commitments to non-proliferation"? India, Pakistan and Israel are not members of NPT, and testing of a missile has little to do with proliferation. On the eighth anniversary of Pokhran-II tests on May 11, the well-known strategic analyst, Mr Bharat Karnad rued that India's status as a nuclear state is more notional than real. Mr K Subrahmanyam, who wrote India's nuclear doctrine, also felt that we did not go about the nuclear programme professionally, and our deterrence capacity is less than credible. This symbolic capacity, instead of lending India any geopolitical advantage, could prove to be a liability because of which potential nuclear adversaries could hit India hard.

At 20 kilotons, not only India's nuclear yield, is peanuts compared with neighbouring China (3.3 megatons), the range limitation of our trusted delivery system Agni I (700-800 km) and Agni-II (2,000 km) are obvious. The two IRBMs were developed as delivery systems by the NDA Government before being handed over to Army and Air Force in October 2003 as part of minimum deterrent capacity. Indira Gandhi had not followed the Pokhran-I (1974) test to its logical conclusion by developing a nuclear delivery system. But the Vajpayee Government did so with Agni-I and Agni-II missiles with booster system provided by ISRO. It would also have put Agni-III in its place, as a functional missile by 2003, but DRDO ran into some technical troubles that delayed its delivery.

The Agni-III uses a totally new system of booster vehicle that calls for extensive ground bed tests to ensure its reliability. The Defence Minister has given the permission for ground bed testing but withheld test firing. Mr Pranab Mukherjee's rhetoric - we must behave like a "responsible member of international community", and our "commitment to non-proliferation", "self-imposed restraint", etc., - seems inane when India does not have credible deterrent capability.

Such talks are reminiscent of Nehru who stalled the Army's campaign in Mirpur and Muzaffarabad when it was getting the better of Pakistan-sponsored tribal attack in Jammu & Kashmir. Brigadier LP Sen had called it the most unpatriotic order he received in his life. Mr M Natarajan has valid reasons to relate the same about Mr Pranab Mukherjee.

But this is half as fallacious compared to the Government's plan to pull out of Saltoro. As in the case of Agni-III, it highlights a mismatch between the South Block and Ministry of Defence on the one hand and the Armed forces and strategic experts' community on the other. The Army and Air Force have been stumped by South Block's proposal sent to Pakistanis through Track II that it was willing to consider demilitarisation of Siachen provided Islamabad agreed to authentication of the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). New Delhi will host the next round of expert-level talks under on two long standing bilateral disputes - Siachen (May 23-24) and Sir Creek Channel (May 25-26).

The Army Commanders, taking part in a three-day conference in New Delhi (April 21-23), unanimously cautioned the Central Government against proceeding with the demilitarisation of Siachen without proper disengagement procedures from Indian and Pakistani sides. The motive of the Pakistani Army is no less suspect today than it was in 1984, when it had provoked the Indian Army to occupy the Saltoro ridge in Siachen. The proof of Pakistan's perfidy, the Kargil offensive of 1999, is still fresh in public mind. With the mastermind of that campaign occupying the President's chair in Pakistan, it only serves to increase the fear. Pakistan has a history of aggression and remains bound by the Quranic concept of war explicated by Brigadier SK Malik and endorsed by General Zia-ul-Haq.

If India vacates Saltoro Ridge without any strong guarantee; Pakistan is bound to capture it. India has no military doctrine to reclaim PoK; however, annexing the Indian part of Jammu & Kashmir is a priority for Pakistan. At present, the strategic advantage is with New Delhi, which explains Islamabad's desperation. Now the Indian Army is acclimatised, rather acculturated, to Siachen. The casualty rate is virtually down to nil. The economic cost of maintaining our base is a trifle of the defence budget.

If Pakistan has a history of aggression, India has a record of foolish generosity. Whether it is the retreat of the Indian Army from Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Kotli and Skardu in 1948 or allowing China to gobble Tibet or giving up Haji Pir in 1966 or the Simla Agreement of 1972 or for that matter mutely watching 'secular' Bangladesh turn Islamic, we have committed one blunder after another.

Colonel Todd, in his book, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, was not far wrong when he generalised an episode in life of Maharana Kumbha: "Abul Fazal relates this victory and dilates on Kumbha's greatness of soul in setting his enemy at liberty, not only without ransom but also with gifts. Such is the character of the Hindus; a mixture of arrogance, political blindness, pride and generosity. To spare a prostate foe is the creed of the Hindu cavalier and he carries all such maxims to excess." (Vol I, p 287) Is a similar tragedy waiting to touch new height over Saltoro?

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Postby karan » 19 May 2006 04:30

If Pakistan has a history of aggression, India has a record of foolish generosity

Ditto

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Postby putnanja » 20 May 2006 01:51

[url=http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/20/stories/2006052004231100.htm]Verify, but trust, is the best formula for Siachen pullout
[/url]

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Postby Rye » 20 May 2006 02:17

Siddarth varadarajan wrote:
Perhaps what Mr. Advani was trying to say was that India must ensure that any Pakistani military transgression of the AGPL pursuant to an Indian withdrawal is seen by the international community as a crime as grave as the violation of the LoC in Kargil.


If Siddharth Varadawhatnot and others echoing this line of argument stopped drinking from the fountain of idiocy, they would recognize the reality that the international community can do diddley squat even if they did "see the violation of the AGPL" (which is NOT the LoC as SV notes in the same article). These people should stop a minute and think about why the "international community" would go against their own interest in coopting pakistan in the so-called "war on terror" and slam the pakis for violating any cretinous agreement that the GoI decides to sign -- an agreement that is essentially bilateral. The "international community" will basically mouth the same old "India and Pakistan must resolve their issues in a bilateral manner", and the folks who came up with this idea of letting go of Siachen to the Pakis/China will then whine about the US being a treacherous "ally" (seemingly taking a leaf from pakistan's book of whining).

SV further displays his stupidity with:
Let not the congenital insecurities of our establishment and the political grandstanding of the Opposition come in the way of a sensible end to a senseless conflict, which has taken the lives of so many brave soldiers on either side.


Firstly, why is this cretin bleeding for paki soldiers? (we all saw how brave the paki soldiers were in the aftermath of the earthquake, and when they kill women and children in Balochistan, didn't we?)

Secondly, what about the soldiers that will pay for this bit of foolishness *after* the pakis have violated whatever "peace agreement" is signed.

Why does this moron SV think he can tell the difference between "Indian political grandstanding" and "realistic assessment based on past history of paki army behavior"?


Beyond this, however, is the issue of trust. Asked how he could sign arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan used to speak of "trust, but verify." In Siachen, we need "verify, but trust." :roll:


This stupid cretin clearly does not understand the rationale for "trust, but verify" (which basically means "trust no one") but that does not stop him from coming up with nonsense like "verify, but trust".


a mixture of arrogance, political blindness, pride and generosity


add thievery and criminal behavior to the above mix, and the character amalgam would mirror the mindset of Indian elites/DIE/Indian RAPE/establishment's behavior post-independence.

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Postby Kakkaji » 23 May 2006 06:46

Warmth of plains after icy talks
[quote]
There has been little change in the Indian and Pakistani positions but observers still believe that there has never been a better chance for peace over Siachen.

Gurmeet Kanwal, a retired brigadier and fellow with the Observer Research Foundation who has drafted a demilitarisation proposal for Siachen along with a Pakistani military officer, says: “Maybe the time has come for India to take a political and military risk. Any violation of an agreement will render Pakistan into an international pariah. I do not think Pakistan will want its troops stuck where Indian troops have been (on the Saltoro) for 22 years.â€

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Postby Rye » 23 May 2006 10:44

[quote]
Gurmeet Kanwal, a retired brigadier and fellow with the Observer Research Foundation who has drafted a demilitarisation proposal for Siachen along with a Pakistani military officer, says: “Maybe the time has come for India to take a political and military risk. Any violation of an agreement will render Pakistan into an international pariah. I do not think Pakistan will want its troops stuck where Indian troops have been (on the Saltoro) for 22 years.â€

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Postby Singha » 23 May 2006 10:46

> will render Pakistan into an international pariah.

that is their natural state but they have shown remarkable & proven abilities to operate successfully from within such a sandbox. rest assured that being a pariah scares no one in rawalpindi. having unkil's proverbials in a tight grip is what matters today.

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Postby abhischekcc » 23 May 2006 10:59

Rye wrote:
a mixture of arrogance, political blindness, pride and generosity


add thievery and criminal behavior to the above mix, and the character amalgam would mirror the mindset of Indian elites/DIE/Indian RAPE/establishment's behavior post-independence.


You forgot Nbjprie :D

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Postby Kakkaji » 23 May 2006 18:53

Isn't ORF funded by Reliance? Is Reliance batting for Pak in order to get concessions from the regime in Pak for its own projects (pipeline etc.)?

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Postby Vipul » 23 May 2006 19:13

RajeevT wrote:Warmth of plains after icy talks

Pakistan has less to lose in Siachen than India. Delhi wants the Actual Ground Position Line on which the troops are to be authenticated. Pakistan has consistently refused to do it on a map but has suggested that the positions should be marked on an annexure to any agreement that may be drafted.


Does it take a high IQ to understand why pakistan is refusing to authenticate AGPL? Is the Indian Leadership that dumb?? :x
Why dont the Indian Negotiators tell the Pukis that this is the starting point to get an agreement (if at all) or else they can take a hike on the glacier(only on the Puki side).

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Postby Kakkaji » 23 May 2006 23:08

Little headway made in Siachen talks

India and Pakistan on Tuesday appeared to have made little headway in talks on demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier with differences on the issue of authentication of actual ground positions held by the two sides persisting on the first day of the two-day defence secretary-level talks.

"We are still continuing the discussions. We have to work out the procedure for authentication. We have to see how we can address this issue," sources said in New Delhi after first day's parleys. The talks will continue on Wednesday.

India is insisting that there should be a proper authentication of present positions held by the two countries in Siachen if the disengagement was to take place.

With the Kargil experience fresh in mind, New Delhi maintains that it is not possible for it to "risk" disengagement unless there is "clear acceptance of authentication" by Islamabad.

Pakistan has so far refused to accept authentication because of which an agreement has not been possible. Also, without mutual acceptance on authentication, there can be no movement on issues like modalities of disengagement.

New Delhi also wants a back-up of an effective and comprehensive surveillance and monitoring mechanism to be part of the disengagement process.

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Postby ramana » 23 May 2006 23:32

Wasnt Gurmeet Kanwal the guy who led to the Gurez incident by sleeping on the job? And he is talking about international pariah! Since when did he start suing castist language?

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Postby Rye » 23 May 2006 23:48

Ramanaji, that is right. Also appears that he did a stint at Sandia, where he developed the Siachen demilitarisation plan.

http://www.cmc.sandia.gov/scholars.htm


Brigadier Kanwal commanded an infantry brigade in the high-altitude Gurez Sector on the Line of Control with Pakistan (Operation Parakaram, 2001-2003) and an artillery regiment in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir Valley (Operation Rakshak, 1993-1994). He has served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff at HQ Integrated Defence Staff, New Delhi, as Director MO-5 in the Directorate General of Military Operations at Army Headquarters (dealing with threat, strategy and force structure); United Nations Military Observer in United Nations Transition Assistance Group, Namibia; Brigade Major of an infantry brigade and, as an Instructor-in-Gunnery at the School of Artillery, Devlali.

A former Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, Brigadier Kanwal has authored several books including Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal; Pakistan’s Proxy War; Heroes of Kargil; Kargil “99: Blood, Guts and Firepower and Artillery: Honour and Glory and has contributed extensively to Strategic Analysis, Indian Defence Review and other military journals of repute as well as leading national newspapers.

While at Sandia National Laboratories, Brigadier Kanwal will build on previous Cooperative Monitoring Center research projects with the goal of defining the first step in military disengagement on Siachen. The study will account for current political and military conditions and include operational steps (including cooperative monitoring) to implement disengagement.

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Postby Kakkaji » 24 May 2006 00:36

This is the risk in military officer exchange/ study programs with the U.S. It looks like it is quite easy for Unkil to then get these officers to do Unkil's bidding in India.

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Postby RayC » 24 May 2006 00:50

ramana wrote:Wasnt Gurmeet Kanwal the guy who led to the Gurez incident by sleeping on the job? And he is talking about international pariah! Since when did he start suing castist language?


Ahem!

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Postby Singha » 24 May 2006 01:09

does Ahem mean u approve or disapprove of the guy. do tell us more from your ample bag of tales.

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Postby Gerard » 24 May 2006 01:21

Does it take a high IQ to understand why pakistan is refusing to authenticate AGPL?


Netas in high office like to see themselves as "statesmen", making peace treaties, being nominated for nobel prizes etc.

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Postby Raja » 24 May 2006 01:30

It is unfathomable to trust a Pakistani govt. led by the guy who planned Kargil on this issue. Any proposals to empty siachin should be thrown in the garbage can.

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Postby ASPuar » 24 May 2006 02:12

RajeevT wrote:This is the risk in military officer exchange/ study programs with the U.S. It looks like it is quite easy for Unkil to then get these officers to do Unkil's bidding in India.


Nonsense! Before you mouth off so very gratuitiously about the integrity of all service officers, perhaps you should count how many have actually attended courses abroad, and served the country with honour, even died for her.

It is not so easy to purchase any man.

And any man that it IS easy to purchase, would have been bought off just as easily at home! There is no need to wait for him or her to go abroad.

One bad apple doesnt mean by corollary that the entire bunch is bad.
Last edited by ASPuar on 24 May 2006 05:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby RayC » 24 May 2006 02:35

Singha wrote:does Ahem mean u approve or disapprove of the guy. do tell us more from your ample bag of tales.


That would be telling tales out of school! ;)

I leave it to you to guess.

Notwithstanding, he wrote for the STATESMAN.


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