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Siachen Glacier UPSC NOTE

 


Siachen Glacier

  • The Siachen Glacier is a glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas at about 35.421226°N 77.109540°E.

  • Just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.

  • At 76 km long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world's non-polar areas.

  • It falls from an altitude of 5,753 m above sea level.

  • It originates at the base of the Indira Col West, a col (low point) on the Indira Ridge.

  • The Siachen Glacier lies immediately south of the great drainage divide that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Indian subcontinent in the extensively glaciated portion of the Karakoram sometimes called the "Third Pole".

  • The Siachen Glacier is positioned from northwest to southeast.

  • On its left flank are three tributary glaciers: Teram Shehr, North Terong, and South Terong.

  • On its right flank are tributary glaciers: Zingrulma, Gyongla, Lolofond

  • The glacier's melting waters are the main source of the Nubra River in the Indian region of Ladakh, which drains into the Shyok River.

  • The region is home to rare species including snow leopard, brown bear and ibex.

  • The name Siachen refers to a land with an abundance of roses.

  • 5Q 131 05 084 this is the number assigned to the Siachen glacier by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

Dispute

  • Both India and Pakistan claim sovereignty over the entire Siachen region.

  • Siachen Glacier is called the highest battlefield in the world.

  • The Siachen region is strategically important for India because it separates Pakistan from China.

  • It also enables India to monitor the Gilgit and Baltistan regions of Pakistan.

  • The entire Siachen Glacier, with all major passes, has been under the administration of India as part of the union territory of Ladakh, located in the Kashmir region since 1984.

  • Pakistan maintains a territorial claim over the Siachen Glacier and controls the region west of Saltoro Ridge, lying west of the glacier.

  • In 1984, India launched Operation Meghdoot, a military operation that gave India control over all of the Siachen Glacier, including its tributaries.

  • Indian troops under Operation Meghdoot pre-empted Pakistan's Operation Ababeel by just one day to occupy most of the dominating heights on Saltoro Ridge to the west of Siachen Glacier.

Cause of conflict

  • The Siachen Glacier became a bone of contention following a vague demarcation of territories in the Karachi Agreement of July 1949 which did not exactly specify who had authority over the Siachen Glacier area.

  • Indian interpretation was that Pakistan territory extended only to about the Saltoro Ridge based on the Simla agreement where the territorial line's route after the last demarcated Point NJ9842 was "thence north to the glaciers."

  • Pakistan interpretation was that their territory continued northeast from Point NJ9842 to the Karakoram Pass. 

  • As a result, both nations claimed the barren heights and the Siachen Glacier.

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