Army launches civilian trek to Siachen, Pakistan protests

October 1st, 2008 - 1:33 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Oct 1 (ANI): The Indian Army today launched a civilian mountaineering and trekking expedition to the Siachen Glacier for the second year in a row, in spite of vociferous protests from Pakistan.

The expedition team comprises of 42 civilians. Besides, the team would comprise personnel from Indian Air Force (IAF), Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Accounts, Rastriya Indian Military College, Indian Mountaineering Federation, prominent Ladakh citizens, journalists and dependents of army personnel from the Northern Command, according to defence sources.

The aim of the 21-day expedition is to promote adventure tourism among civilian youth of the country, sources said.

The trip is meant to show to the international community that Indian troops hold the 72-km-long Siachen Glacier in the Saltoro Ridge region of Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan is nowhere near it.

“The participants for the trek have already gathered at Leh and are currently going through an acclimatisation and medical fitness examination process before they proceed to the glacier,” an army official said.

Defence Minister A K Antony will flag off the expedition from Leh on October 7, when the actual trekking of the glacier would begin.

The trekkers would move to Siachen Base Camp on October 7 and go through another round of acclimatisation and glacier-craft training and orientation there from 12 instructors from Leh-based Army Mountaineering Institute (AMI).

From October 12 to 19, the 42-member team would complete a long trek from the Base Camp to Kumar Post at 16,000 feet.

The team would return to Leh on October 21 and return to their hometowns the next day.

India maintains that it does not need Pakistans approval to send trekkers to Siachen Glacier that is “essentially an Indian territory” west of the 110-km-long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). (ANI)

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