The Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest and coldest battlefield, will be now open to tourists. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh confirmed that Siachen area is now open for “tourists and tourism” as he said, “From Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post, the entire area has been opened for tourism purposes”.
Ladakh has tremendous potential in Tourism. Better connectivity in Ladakh would certainly bring tourists in large numbers.
The Siachen area is now open for tourists and Tourism. From Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post, the entire area has been opened for Tourism purposes.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 21, 2019
The Kumar Post is at height of more than 15,000 feet and thrill seekers will be able to travel from the base camp at Partapur at 11,000 feet to the Kumar Post. Clearly, it’s not a destination for the faint-hearted. While the modalities are still being worked out, sources said tourists will be given a permit to travel to these areas. And since the army will have to play host to the ‘tourists’, the number of people allowed to visit the glacier will also be regulated. Further at a destination where even breathing is an effort, and battle hardened soldiers fall to frostbites and high-altitude sickness, tourists will of course have to be physically fit. According to sources, some basic training in mountaineering and acclimatization will be a must. From 2007 to 2016, the glacier was open to an annual expedition with civilians and the vetting process applied till then will be applied now as well.
This move will boost tourism in Ladakh and also allow people to appreciate the tough work of the soldiers and engineers in extreme weather conditions and inhospitable terrains. The Defence Minister highlighted this aspect while inaugurating the strategically important ‘Col Chewang Rinchen’ bridge over river Shyok that connects Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. It’s noteworthy that the Indian army spends crores on a daily basis to maintain Siachen, a place where temperatures dip to minus 60 degrees in the winter. So if you are imagining ski resorts, that may not happen. But a selfie at Siachen is very much possible.