Connect with us

Featured

When Pakistan Army Lost 129 Soldiers In One Of The Deadliest Avalanches In The History

Published

on

On 7th April 2012, at-least 129 Pakistani Army soldiers died after getting buried under 80 to 100 feet of snow when an avalanche hit their military base in the Gayari sector.  The incident occurred at an altitude of over 4500 meters and was the worst avalanche that the Pakistani Army had ever experienced.

The battalion headquarters of the 6th Northern Light Infantry, located 15,000ft in Kashmir’s Gayari district, near the border with India, was hit by an avalanche at around 06:00 local time on 7 April. Although rescue efforts began shortly after news of the avalanche, freezing and strenuous conditions made the hope of rescuing any of those trapped practically impossible.

On 29 May 2012, Pakistan declared that the 129 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried dead.

The Backdrop – Siachen Glacier

Siachen is the world’s highest battlefield between where soldiers of both India and Pakistan brave freezing temperatures that go as low as -60 degrees celsius. Both India and Pakistan lay claim to Siachen and have deployed thousands of troops on the glacier. Both nations have fought over the region intermittently from 1984 onwards till 2003 when a ceasefire was declared.

The Siachen conflict is part of the larger conflict over Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. After both the countries became independent republics, India and Pakistan soon got embroiled in a war over the region of Jammu and Kashmir.

After a ceasefire was declared, India and Pakistan agreed to the Line of Control starting from the southernmost point west of Chenab and ended northeast at point NJ9842. From this point, the line was to run further north meeting the China border.

However, due to inaccessible glacial terrain, no effort was made to extend the line from NJ9842 to China border. This undefined area of the Siachen Glacier became the bone of contention between the two nations.

Pakistan from 1970 onwards gave permission to mountain climbers to visit the glacier giving the impression that the region belonged to Pakistan. A German climber showed the map to an Indian Col. Navin Kumar who soon forwarded it to the director-general of military operations.

The map obtained from the German national convinced India that Pakistan was slowly trying to take over Siachen. As a result, the Indian Army ordered a complete mapping of the area and tasked Col Navin Kumar to take counter-action.

Pakistan, alarmed by India’s activity decided to seize Siachen and had it not been for some crucial intelligence that India received at a critical time, Pakistan might as well have succeeded.

Col Kumar years later told that they had come to know from their source in London that Pakistan was buying large numbers of mountaineering gear. Unfortunately for Pakistan the supplier from whom they were acquiring the gear also provided the same to the Indian Army. As soon as India learned about the development, New Delhi dispatched its troops and secured Siachen just four days before Pakistan, i.e. on 13 April 1984.

Gayari Avalanche

Although India and Pakistan both have abided by ceasefire both the nations have lost over 2,700 soldiers combined, apart from millions of dollars. The soldiers stationed at these punishing heights have to battle harsh climatic conditions, frostbites, hypothermia, and amnesia to name just a few.

Avalanches are nothing new to Siachen. The Gayari avalanche was one of the worst avalanches to have hit the Pakistan Army and claimed the lives of 129 soldiers and 11 civilians. Pakistani Army immediately commenced rescue operations using helicopters, heavy machinery, sniffer dogs and with assistance from international rescuers after a prolonged effort, managed to recover the bodies of the soldiers.

Prior to the Gayari avalanche, another avalanche had struck in 2010 that claimed the lives of 24 Pakistan Army soldiers. On April 7, 2002, at around 2 am, an avalanche hit Pakistani Army base at Gayari which was a vital supply hub for troops placed in the remotest parts of the Siachen glacier. The devastating avalanche struck at a distance of just 1300 meters from the camp.

While the exact cause of the avalanche was not known, many conspiracies had started to float including some blaming India for the disaster. The most accepted view among Pakistani’s was that the avalanche was triggered after a piece of the main glacier had broken off which obliterated the camp.

Another view suggested that it was not an avalanche but a landslide caused by heavy rains that loosened some of the soil of the mountain.

However, one of the Pakistani newspapers claimed that the Indian Army was behind the disaster. The newspaper suggested that increased solar radiation due to large carbon deposits resulting from increased Indian military activity resulted in the melting of ice at the glacier which resulted in the avalanche.

Another conspiracy theory pointed to an Indian project Kali which melted the ice that caused the avalanche under project – Whitewash.

The Gayari base is situated in a valley between two high mountains. “I can’t comprehend how an avalanche can reach that place. It was suppose to be safe,” a Pakistani army official had stated.

The then-PM of Pakistan — Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed shock over the incident and said that the accident would in no way hurt the morale of the soldiers and officers. A retired Pakistani Brigadier Shaukat Qadir while speaking to Al Jazeera pointed that this was the biggest incident in terms of casualties.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan too expressed its sorrow and extended condolences to the families of the victims. The body had called for an exhaustive investigation into the living conditions of soldiers placed at Siachen glacier. Even the then PM of Indian — Manmohan Singh offered assistance help to Pakistan in relief and rescue operations.

With Inputs from the BBC.

Advertisement

Featured

Amitabh Bachchan – Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19

Amitabh Bachchan tweeted – I have tested COVID positive, shifted to hospital, hospital informing authorities, family and staff undergone tests , results awaited. All that have been in close proximity to me in the last 10 days are requested to please get themselves tested,” he wrote.

Published

on

Amitabh Bachchan – Bollywood superstar has tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday evening and was admitted to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai. Bachchan confirmed the same in a tweet.

“I have tested covid positive, shifted to hospital, hospital informing authorities, family and staff undergone tests , results awaited. All that have been in close proximity to me in the last 10 days are requested to please get themselves tested,” he wrote.

Bachchan was last seen in Shoojit Sarkar’s Gulabo Sitabo that released on Amazon Prime Video. Two films, Jhund and Chehre are ready for release while he is yet to complete Ayan Mukherji’s Brahmastra along with Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

Continue Reading

Americas

US threatens Russia with consequences for paying bounties to Taliban in Afghanistan

Published

on

The US has threatened to respond if the Pentagon confirms reports of Russian bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. While Russia denies its involvement in any such operation, US-Russia relations could further deteriorate if the reports are confirmed.

The Pentagon is investigating reports of Russian bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan and if found to be true, the US has promised to retaliate. Moscow on the hand has denied involvement in any such operation.

Speaking in front of the House armed services committee, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said that the Pentagon was committed to discovering whether Russian military intelligence had paid the Taliban for attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of this bounty thing. If there are bounties, I’m an outraged general, just like every one of us in uniform is,” Milley said. “That’s a real big deal. We don’t have that level of fidelity yet, but we’re still looking.”

Despite vowing to retaliate, Milley suggested that the US may not be responding to the reports as robustly as necessary in non-military ways. The 62-year old admitted that the US was perhaps not doing enough.

The issue is at the strategic level,” he said. “Is there diplomatic, and informational and economic … sanctions, are there démarches, are there phone calls, is there pressure, those sorts of things. And I can tell you that some of that is done.’’

Mark Esper, the defence secretary, was also testifying to the House armed services committee. Esper said that the reports did not come from any of the nine of the total of 17 US intelligence agencies under Pentagon’s authority, implying the information leaked to the press in recent weeks came from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or another civilian agency.

The reports first came to notice in January and were ignored because they lacked credibility. It was only in February that Gen Kenneth McKenzie and the defence secretary became aware of them in February.

Milley confirmed that the investigation is not over and promised to get to the bottom of the situation. President Donald Trump has insisted he was not briefed on the Russian bounties.

Russia Denies Involvement

While American intelligence agencies work to confirm reports, Russia denies the existence or its involvement in any such operation. Moscow says the U.S. is trying to portray Moscow as an all-purpose bogeyman.

“I would like to say officially that these allegations, distributed by the media, are downright lies. No concrete evidence has been presented,” Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said this week in an online forum with the Center for the National Interest.

Other Russian officials point out that Moscow would have little incentive to establish such a program given the high risk of getting caught.

According to NPR, the Russian military intelligence known as the GRU is believed to be behind the suspected Russian bounty program in Afghanistan. The GRU has an aggressive and high-risk culture and is hence preferred by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The New York Times was the media outlet to report about Russia secretly offering money to the Taliban in exchange for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan.

If confirmed, it would be the first time the Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops and could have a severe impact on Washington-Moscow relations.

Continue Reading

Featured

Srebrenica genocide: Pakistan draws similarity between 1995 Srebrenica massacre with Kashmir

Drawing a parallel between Srebrenica genocide, and the current situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Khan said he feared a massacre similar to that in Srebrenica could happen in the disputed Himalayan valley.

Published

on

Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan on Saturday urged the world community to “learn a lesson” from 1995 Srebrenica genocide, and “not let such massacre happen again.”

“Today, we are observing the 25th memorial anniversary of the genocide that took place in Srebrenica. I still remember the day very well along with most people who have humanity in their hearts. I remember when it happened. we were shocked. We were appalled how in a what was a safe haven of United Nations peacekeeping forces, this massive massacre was allowed to happen.

“I still feel the shock how such a thing could have been allowed by the world community, Khan said in a video message aired by state-run Pakistan Television. “I think, It is important that we learn lessons from that, the world community must never let such things to happen again,” he went on to say.

Drawing a parallel between Srebrenica genocide, and the current situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Khan said he feared a massacre similar to that in Srebrenica could happen in the disputed Himalayan valley.

“Today, 800,000 Indian troops have besieged 8 million people of Kashmir. And we all fear a similar sort of massacre might follow there,” he said, adding: “So the world community must take notice, and never allow such acts to take place there.”

Kashmir and Palestine

In a Twitter post, in connection with the 25th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “July 2020 marks 25 years since the Srebrenica Massacre, the murder of over 8000 Bosnian Muslims & ethnic cleansing of over 20’000 people. The world has a collective responsibility to ensure history is not repeated.”

“What is happening in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine is chillingly similar,” he added, referring to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and New Delhi’s scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s longstanding special status in August 2019.

Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of the genocide are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thousands of visitors from various countries attend the funeral services and burials.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will participate in this year’s memorial program via video link. During a two-day visit to Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo last year for a similar event, Erdogan attended a procession to commemorate thousands of innocents who fell victim to the genocide.

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN “safe area” of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers.

Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.

The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by General Ratko Mladic — later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide — overran the UN zone.

The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing about 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone. Some 15,000 Srebrenica residents fled into the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests.

UK ‘stands with’ all feeling Srebrenica genocide pain

British administration on Saturday “reiterated the UK’s commitment to supporting reconciliation across the Western Balkans,” on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Today (11 July) marks twenty-five years since the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the worst atrocity in Europe since the end of the Second World War,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) statement said.

“Today I stand with all who continue to feel unimaginable pain from the genocide 25 years ago at Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter.

“The United Kingdom has worked to support justice for the victims, find the missing & promote reconciliation,” he added.

Underlining that more than 8,000, mostly Muslim men and boys, were murdered and over 20,000 women and children were forcibly expelled from their homes, the UK urged “all parties to reject hate speech and the glorification of the perpetrators of genocide and war crimes.”

The statement also said the “verdicts from international and domestic courts must be respected.” Raab said: “On the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, we remember the victims and the anguish of their families.

“During my time in the Hague between 2003 and 2006, pursuing those responsible for this dark chapter in European history, I was reminded daily of the heinous cruelty perpetrated against the innocent.

“The UK is determined to end impunity and help rebuild those countries affected – as our commitment to the ICC, and UK investment and support for Bosnia demonstrates.”

Turkey pays homage

he Turkish president on Saturday remembered the Srebrenica martyrs on the 25th anniversary of the genocide. “We will always stand by our Bosnian brothers in their search for justice. The Srebrenica Genocide will never be forgotten,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video message.

As part of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, Erdogan spoke via video link at the memorial ceremony held at the former accumulator factory used by the United Nations troops as a base in the war in Bosnia.

Erdogan stressed that despite all tragedy and tears, European politicians have learned no lessons from Srebrenica Genocide, adding that free use of words that “fuel enmity towards Islam and support xenophobia is a source of concern for our future.”

“Even though it has been a quarter of a century since the genocide, our pain is still fresh. Our hearts wrenched with every mass grave unearthed,” he said. Erdogan wished God’s mercy on Srebrenica martyrs and patience to their families, their loved ones and to all who feel pain in their hearts.

 

By Aamir Latif, Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

FEATURED

CORONAVIRUS CORONAVIRUS
Featured11 hours ago

Amitabh Bachchan – Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19

Amitabh Bachchan tweeted - I have tested COVID positive, shifted to hospital, hospital informing authorities, family and staff undergone tests...

US-Russia US-Russia
Americas16 hours ago

US threatens Russia with consequences for paying bounties to Taliban in Afghanistan

The US has threatened to respond if the Pentagon confirms reports of Russian bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan....

Imran-Khan-Pakistan Imran-Khan-Pakistan
Featured17 hours ago

Srebrenica genocide: Pakistan draws similarity between 1995 Srebrenica massacre with Kashmir

Drawing a parallel between Srebrenica genocide, and the current situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Khan said he feared a massacre similar...

trump-dinner-saudi-arabia trump-dinner-saudi-arabia
Featured19 hours ago

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was prime suspect in Khashoggi murder case – UN official

A UN official has said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was a prime suspect in the case...

jammu-kashmir jammu-kashmir
Featured19 hours ago

Kashmir will get more affected than Tibet in India, China clash – British Author

Dragon Fire, a novel by British author Humphrey Hawksley, written 20 years ago depicted a war erupting between China, India...

Indian-Military-Base-Indonesia Indian-Military-Base-Indonesia
Asia Pacific21 hours ago

India can ‘no longer’ choke China at the Strait Of Malacca as Beijing finds solution

The Strait of Malacca is a strategic waterway between Indonesia and Malaysia through which the majority of Chinese imports pass....

Tayyip-Erdogan Tayyip-Erdogan
Featured1 day ago

Hagia Sophia: Turkey turns iconic Istanbul museum of Hagia Sophia into mosque

The court ruled that Hagia Sophia was owned by a foundation established by Sultan Mehmet II, also known as Mehmet...

Apache-Helicopter Apache-Helicopter
Featured2 days ago

Indian Air Force Receives Complete Delivery Apache, Chinook Helicopters

Boeing India also tweeted: Thank you, @IAF_MCC, for your partnership. We’re happy to have completed the deliveries of the 22...

BEST-CANCER-HOSPITAL-IN-DELHI-NCR BEST-CANCER-HOSPITAL-IN-DELHI-NCR
Featured2 days ago

COVID-19 Exposes India, Philippines To Higher Risk Of Cancer; Australia, Malaysia Safest – Index

According to an index prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Australia, Malaysia and South Korea are most prepared to meet...

US-China-Trade-War US-China-Trade-War
Americas2 days ago

China Fighting India With ‘Sticks & Stones’ Cheaper, But Confronting The US Can Bankrupt China: Experts

The news of relentless India-China border tensions and all other dispute that China has with its neighbours like Taiwan, Japan,...

Advertisement

Trending