A total of 50 Indian soldiers have lost their lives to natural and climatic conditions in Siachen, one of the world’s most inhospitable borders.
24 of the 50 were killed in various landslides and avalanches (snow slides), while the remaining 26 died due to “environmental and climatic conditions,” the ministry of defence said.
The highest number of people were killed in 2011 — a total of 24 — while in the first seven months of this year, only four soldiers have lost their lives in Siachen.
Siachen, despite being inaccessible, has a large deployment of troops from India due to a similarly large deployment by Pakistan on the other side. The difficult-to-access glacier spot is used by armed separatists to smuggle armaments into India, requiring the Indian army to maintain a keen watch at the spot.
“Government is cognizant of the strategic importance of Siachen and requisite forces have been deployed in the area keeping in view the threat perception, ground situation and other operational aspects,” Arun Jaitley, in charge of the defence ministry, said in a statement.
“All efforts are made to minimise the casualties by providing suitable infrastructure, habitat, medical support and casualty evacuation procedures,” he said.