NEW DELHI: If India vacated its position in Siachen, Pakistan might occupy the strategic location, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
“If we vacate the position, the enemy can occupy the position and they would have the strategic advantage. Then we would have to lose many more lives. We know the experience of 1984 (Siachen conflict),” Parrikar said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
“I know we have to pay the price and I salute our armed forces personnel, but we have to maintain this position. We have to man the strategic position. The position is very important from the strategic point. I don’t think anyone in this House can take Pakistan’s words for granted”.
India occupies the highest point in the Siachen glaciers, the Saltoro Ridge which is located at 23,000 feet, he said.
Ten Indian soldiers were buried alive under snow after their camp in the northern part of the Siachen glacier was hit by a major avalanche on February 3.
So far 915 people have lost their lives in the last 32 years in Siachen, which averages out to 28 lives every year. This has now been reduced to 10 lives a year.
The Defence Minister said that constant medical support was being given to those serving in the Siachen glaciers, which is six times more than the normal medical care.