India rules out troop withdrawal from Siachen
Notwithstanding the loss of 10 soldiers in avalanche in Siachen recently, India on Friday ruled out the withdrawal of Army from the icy heights in J&K, saying that Pakistan cannot be trusted and it may occupy the strategic area if India vacates.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in the Lok Sabha that vacating Siachen could lead to bigger loss of lives and reminded about the “experience” of 1984 when India evicted Pakistan from the strategically critical heights after a bloody fight.
“I know we have to pay the price and I salute our armed forces personnel. But we have to maintain this position. We have to man the strategic position. The position is very important from the strategic point,” Parrikar said, while replying to questions against the backdrop of the recent loss of 10 soldiers in an avalanche.
“I don’t think anyone in this House can take Pakistan’s words for granted...If we vacate the position, the enemy can occupy the position and they would have the strategic advantage. Then we would have to lose many more lives. We know the experience of 1984 (Siachen conflict),” he said.
India occupies the highest point in Siachen glaciers, the Saltoro Ridge which is located at 23,000 feet, he said.
On February 3, an avalanche hit an Army post in Siachen glacier, burying 10 soldiers, including a JCO. One of them was found alive under a huge mass of ice after six days but he died a few days later. The Defence Minister said so far 915 people have lost their lives in the last 32 years in Siachen.
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