Siachen: 40 years of Op Meghdoot

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Internal Security, Topic: Current affairs, Issue: Places in news

Context: April 13, 2024 marks four decades since the Indian Army pre-empted Pakistan and occupied the Siachen glacier

Siachen glacier(World’s highest and coldest battlefield) :

  • It is on the Saltoro ridge, overlooking the Nubra valley in the Karakoram ranges.
  • The origin of dispute dates back to Partition between India and Pakistan.
  • The LoC was delineated up to NJ-9842 in the 1972 Shimla agreement.
  • The glacier itself was left unmarked, leading to a dispute over ownership.
  • India claims the area based on the Jammu and Kashmir Accession Agreement of 1947 and the Karachi Agreement of 1949.
  • Pakistan interprets the ceasefire line differently, seeking control beyond Siachen for strategic connectivity.

Strategic significance of Siachen:

  • Vital for India’s security, especially Ladakh and the Leh-Srinagar highway.
  • Potential of collusive threats from both China and Pakistan.
  • Siachen overlooks the Shaksgam valley, part of POK, ceded to China in 1963.
  • Recent tensions, such as the 2020 standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh.


  • Siachen and Sir Creek are considered “low-hanging fruits” in the India-Pakistan conflict.
  • Demilitarization discussions have occurred at the level of Defence Secretaries but have faced hurdles.
  • Recent tensions, including the 2020 standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh, has further complicated Siachen’s settlement.
Prelims Connect(Operation Meghdoot)

·                Launched by India in April 1984 to preempt Pakistan’s aggression.

·                Intelligence inputs of imminent Pakistani military action prompted India’s move.

·                Mountaineering expeditions by Col. Narinder Kumar aided in planning the operation.

·                Indian Army captured the 76.4 km-long Siachen glacier on April 13, 1984.

·                Ceasefire along the Actual Ground Position Line has held since 2003, making Operation Meghdoot the longest continuing operation globally.

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