Climate change is making the life of the soldiers posted in the world’s highest and arduous battlefield – Siachen Glacier – not just tough but also dangerous, as temperature rises and the snow melts faster. Siachen, which has the dubious distinction of having seen more soldiers dying due to extreme weather (temperatures at times drop below -50 degree celcius) than the enemy bullet, is feeling the heat of global warming.
The death of 10 soldiers earlier this year in an avalanche in the critical Sonam post, located close to the Line of Control with Pakistan, was due to global warming. Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, who was rescued after being buried 30 feet below snow for six days at the Sonam Post, located at about 19,600 feet, could not be saved.
The effect of the climate change is such that the snout of the Siachen Glacier has actually receded back by about 800 metres in the last one decade or so.
Over 41 soldiers have lost their lives on the Siachen Glacier since 2013, even though not a single shot has been fired since the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in 2003. At least 1,013 Indian soldiers have lost their lives in Siachen since 1984.