Srinagar: President Ram Nath Kovind is the second president to visit Siachen after APJ Abdul kalam, on Thursday kovind visited the Army base camp in Siachen glacier in Jammu and Kashmir and praised the dedication and determination of soldiers in the world’s highest battlefield saying “their bravery gives confidence to the nation that borders of the country are safe and secure.”
Kovind, who is Supreme Commander of the armed forces, was accompanied by Army chief General Bipin Rawat and Northern Command chief Lieutenant-General D Anbu.
“As the Supreme Commander of the armed forces and as the President of India, I have come here to express my and the country’s gratitude to you,” President Kovind said in his address to the soldiers.
“Siachen is the world’s highest battlefield and it is difficult to live even a normal life in the extreme climate. In such a situation, it is extraordinary for soldiers to stay in a state of constant mobilisation and combat readiness and be ready to take on the enemy.”
Kovind said the determination and dedication of the soldiers at Siachen, where weather always remains hostile, is worthy of the highest praise – and their allegiance to the defence of India is an ideal for all fellow citizens.
“The bravery and valour of our soldiers in Siachen in the last 34 years has given every countryman the confidence that our borders are safe and secure,” Kovind said adding, “Every countryman is grateful to you and stands by you and your families. We pray for your safety”. Kovind had visited the troops in Ladakh soon after becoming President.
The President also paid his respects at the Siachen War Memorial, which is a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice made by soldiers and officers since the Indian Army began Operation Meghdoot on Siachen Glacier on April 13, 1984.
At least 163 soldiers and officers have been killed in the hostile weather conditions in Siachen in the last 10 years, where the temperature falls to -50 degrees Celsius. The causes of death in Siachen glacier range from those directly related to high altitude like High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema, High Altitude Cerebral Oedema and Pulmonary Thrombo Embolism to other general causes. Some of the posts on Siachen are located at an altitude of more than 20,000 feet, making it the toughest war field for the soldiers guarding it.