March 16, 2010 2:07:46 am
In a first,the Bangladesh Army Chief,who is on a five-day tour to India,will on Tuesday visit the disputed Siachen glacier and interact with troops at the highest battle ground in the world. Military leaders have in the past shied away from visiting the glacier a source of a bitter boundary dispute between India and Pakistan.
General Mohd Abdul Mubeen will fly down to the Thoise air base and will be given a tour of the Siachen base camp and the Siachen battle school. While the Indian Army is in control of the glacier after it launched Operation Meghdoot in 1984,Pakistan has made several military and diplomatic attempts to gain possession of the area. General Mubeens visit to the glacier will be the latest in a series of steps over the past few years to send out signals to the international community that Siachen is an integral part of India.
In October 2008,US Army Chief General George Casey was given a tour of the glacier where he interacted with soldiers. Since 2007,India has given permissions for several international treks and expeditions in the region surrounding the glacier. A regular annual civilian trek on the heavily militarised glacier is also being conducted for the past three years.
General Mubeens visit,however,will be the first by a senior military leader from the Indian subcontinent. The General will fly down to Thoise,the airbase used as a logistics base for soldiers deployed on the glacier,in a special aircraft on Tuesday morning. He will then take a chopper ride to the Siachen base camp where he will interact with senior army officers and troops. He will also be given a tour of the Siachen battle school where troops undergo up to three months of intensive training for deployment on the glacier.
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