Duration of Siachen Conflict: 13th April 1984- 25th November 2003 (19 years and 7 months)
Belligerents: India and Pakistan.
Result: Decisive Indian victory
Causes of the Siachen Conflict:
- Siachen Glacier is a territory of dispute between India and Pakistan after both the countries became independent from Britain in 1947.
- Right after getting independence from Britain, both India and Pakistan fought for control over Kashmir. The result of the War that is the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 was a decisive Indian victory.
- When India got control over Kashmir in 1947, it organized a cease-fire and signed the Karachi agreement with Pakistan. There was nothing stated about the Siachen Glacier in the Karachi agreement.
- From then, both countries got into dispute about the Siachen Glacier.
- Even after the end of 1971 Indo-Pakistani war there was nothing done about the Siachen Glacier. When the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War ended in decisive Indian victory, both sides agreed upon the Simla agreement, but nothing was stated about the Siachen Glacier.
- Both countries allowed expedition teams to survey the glacier from their sides.
- Over time, both sides got really hot over the dispute and decided to occupy Siachen Glacier and this started the Siachen Conflict in 1984.
How India got to know about Pakistan’s Plans:
Pakistani Generals first made the plan to occupy Siachen. But later, India got hold of Pakistan’s plans to occupy the glacier when Pakistan ordered snow gear for the Pakistani Army. The dealer in London from whom Pakistan ordered snow gear was a regular supplier to the Indian Army. So, this leaked Pakistan’s plans.
After this, India immediately sent its troops and equipment to Siachen before Pakistan could even gather its forces.
Casualties and Losses:
Both sides suffered minor losses even though the conflict lasted almost two decades.
India suffered 1136 casualties out of which 36 were initial conflict losses and more than 1100 were deaths due to the harsh weather of the glacier.
Pakistan, on the other hand suffered 200 initial conflict losses and more than 700 due to weather conditions.
- Numerous battles took place between the Indian Army and the Pakistani Army over different periods of time.
- There are several major operations and battles throughout the conflict. The first operation was named Operation Meghdoot and it took place on 13th April by occupying the Bilafond La territory and Sia La territory on 17th of April. This marked the beginning of the Siachen conflict.
- The First battle between two sides took place on 25th April.
- In the coming years, India occupied many key positions. Many clashes took place between the Indian Army and the Pakistani Army.
- Pakistani Forces got weakened over time and finally broke after the end of the 1999 Indo-Pakistani Kargil War. In 2003, four years after the Lahore Summit, cease-fire was organized and India had gained almost 2,553 sq.kms and the whole Siachen Glacier.
The reason behind both countries fighting for this small territory is that this territory is strategically very important. It gives India advantage of preventing a contact between Pakistan and China. It will prevents both China and Pakistan to jointly attack India in the future and an invasion of Indian controlled kashmir.
Siachen Glacier is the highest and one of the coldest battlefield in the world with an average elevation of 5,400 above the sea-level. Temperature here can sometimes fall to -50 degree Celsius and snowfall of 1000cm (35ft).