Six jawans dead, one missing in Siachen avalanche hit

Six soldiers were killed and one is missing when an avalanche hit the Siachen glacier area today.

Six men belonging to the 1st Assam Regiment, deployed in the Hanif sub-sector in Siachen glacier area, died in the avalanche hit around 7 AM, Army sources said here.

One soldier is still missing and efforts are being made to locate him, they said. "The incident happened during inter- post movement of the soldiers," they said.

This is for the first time in several years that an avalanche has hit an Indian position in the glacier area, the sources said.

The Assam unit is part of the 102 Siachen Brigade and is located at altitudes of around 15-16,000 feet, they said.

An avalanche had hit a Pakistani Army camp in the glacier area last year killing over 100 troops.

India has deployed its troops in Siachen for close to 30 years now and has lost more people to the weather and terrain than to enemy bullets.

However, it has brought down such casualties to a large extent by ensuring proper adaptation of the personnel to the conditions and through extensive scientific research by DRDO to improve living conditions of jawans there.

India and Pakistan, which have held several rounds of talks to resolve the Siachen issue, were close to an agreement a few years back on demilitarising the region but the accord failed to see the light of the day as Pakistan refused to authenticate its military position.

Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had recently said that India had hardened its position on the Siachen issue as compared to the 1989 stance it had adopted, saying that it "takes two hands to clap".

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has made it clear that the Indian military would not like to move out of the "strategically important" icy heights for which a "lot of blood has been shed".

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