This is very interesting and welcome news among the mountaineering community, as well as those concerned about the Kashmir peace process:
A mountaineering base has been planned at Siachen to promote adventure activities. So, while the political establishment may find it tricky to compl.
According to reports published by leading TV Channel, that the government of India is likely to open up the Siachen Glacier for mountaineering expeditions. The Army is clear that demilitarization of Siachen is a proposition India can do without. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s idea of converting the world’s highest battlefield into a mountain of peace, it appears, is getting a push.
A mountaineering base has been planned at Siachen to promote adventure activities. So, while the political establishment may find it tricky to completely overrule, the Army viewpoint on troop disengagement is that this could be the way forward for a Siachen thaw without provoking a backlash in the form of security concerns.
The idea seems acceptable to the Army’s Siachen icons. Colonel N Kumar, a Siachen Pioneer, says, “There’s no shelling there; no firing. We should allow freely so that awareness will also come that Siachen is with India and you can go and climb there.”
A Siachen peace park driven by adventure sport may also create room for a politico-strategic interaction between India and Pakistan, even though military disengement may yet be some distance away.
Kapil Kak, a Strategic Analyst, says, “You look at joint mountaineering expeditions. You look at joint tourism boards which will look at this area and provide clearances to other foreign expeditions which come there, and in the process, greater contact between the two sides without coming into the inherent fundamental issue of territoriality.”
Opening up Siachen to actors other than the military may just be an idea whose time has come. There’s peace on the world’s highest battlefield for the last three years. The next step in normalizing Siachen could be to dilute the military character of this frozen frontier. There are many who believe that a Siachen thaw will be a precursor to peace in Jammu and Kashmir.