STATE TIMES NEWS SRINAGAR: Six Indian Army soldiers were killed and one is missing in an avalanche that struck the Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir early on Monday. The tragedy occurred in Sub Sector Hanif in Turtuk area of the glacier when troops of the 1st Assam Regiment were moving between posts. All the six bodies have been pulled out of the snow.
Rain likely in J&K, Ladakh; Leh freezes at minus 6.7 deg CJammu: Light to moderate snow and rains are likely to hit the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on Thursday evening, the meteorological department said.The mercury marked a decline in Jammu and Ladakh regions, while it continued an upward trend in the Kashmir Valley, a weather department official said. Leh township of Ladakh recorded a low of minus 6.7 degrees Celsius, making it the coldest place in the two Union territories, the spokesperson said. In Kashmir, Srinagar recorded a maximum of 16.3 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 5.8 degrees Celsius. The day temperature in the city was 1.2 degrees above normal, while the night temperature is 5.2 degrees above normal, the spokesperson said.The official added that it is for the first time in almost two weeks that the mercury has settled above normal in Srinagar, which witnessed heavy snowfall of the season on November 6-7.The famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was the coldest recorded place in the valley with a minimum of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius, followed by Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir at a low of minus 1.6 degrees Celsius, the spokesperson said.The day temperature in Jammu was 24.6 degrees Celsius, a few notches below normal. The night temperature in the city also stayed 0.6 degrees below normal at 11.7 degrees Celsius.Katra recorded a high of 22.4 and a low of 10.8 degrees Celsius respectively, the spokesperson said.The weather department has predicted a light to moderate rain in the plains and moderate snow over higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir, and Zojila and Drass along Srinagar-Leh national highway in Ladakh from Thursday to Friday.“Except on November 21-22, the weather is likely to remain dry and the temperatures will be normal in all three regions. There is no forecast of any heavy spell till November end,” the spokesperson said.
“At around 6.15 am, our posts at a height of over 17,000 feet came under an avalanche in Sub Sector Hanif in Siachen. Six jawans lost their lives. One is missing,” Army spokesman Lt Col JS Brar said in Srinagar. “Avalanche rescue teams have been deployed, but the operation had to be stopped because of adverse weather. The search will be restarted the moment the weather clears up,” he said.
The Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas is the world’s highest and coldest battlefield, with both Indian and Pakistani soldiers stationed there.
There have been repeated calls to demilitarise the glacier because of the cost of maintaining troops at those icy heights and the high casualties from hostile weather.
More troops have died on the glacier due to adverse weather than combat. In April, an avalanche killed 139 people at a Pakistan Army camp.
This is the first time in several years that an avalanche has hit an Indian position in the Siachen Glacier, army sources said.
The Siachen Glacier at the height of around 20,000 ft in the Karakoram range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds.
Avalanches and landslides are common at the glacier during the winters and temperatures can drop to as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
Earlier this year in February, 10 Army jawans got trapped under snow after a huge wall of ice fell at an Army post in the Siachen glacier. The Army sent over 150 personnel to carry out round-the-clock search and rescue operations.
After hours of digging, the rescue team managed to find Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad who was stuck under snow at 19,500 feet. He was the sole survivor among the 10-man party that got stuck under the snow and he succumbed to his injuries three days later.
India and Pakistan have held several rounds of talks to end the military stand-off, but without success. Talks were last held in June this year in Rawalpindi, but both sides stuck to their stated positions.
Indian and Pakistani troops have been engaged in the standoff on Siachen since 1984. The guns have largely been silent since late 2003 after a ceasefire.
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