Parrikar rules outwithdrawing troopsfrom Siachen glacier

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Feb 2016 14:26:09

Ten soldiers, including a Junior Officer, were buried after an avalanche hit their post on Wednesday


DISMISSING suggestions for withdrawal of troops from Siachen, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said that these were not made after proper analysis and that military presence on the world’s highest battlefield was in consonance with the country’s security needs.

Referring to the demand in some quarters for withdrawal of troops from Siachen in the wake of death of ten soldiers in an avalanche, he said, “I think because of that reason (the death of ten soldiers)...Any other suggestion is not a proper analysis.”

“Decision about (deployment of troops in) Siachen is based on the security of the nation... They have to understand its importance, why we are maintaining it (security presence) in spite of hostile conditions...I think you will understand if you go to that place,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an international maritime conference.

Ten Army personnel, including an officer, were buried under snow onWednesday after their post was hit by an avalanche. Parrikar said that there was “no loose end” which could have resulted in the death of the soldiers. “It was nature’s show of strength and we can’t help it,” he said.

“I am disturbed with any loss, particularly of soldiers, who do it for the nation. Now this particular incident (death of ten soldiers) is absolutely painful to me personally,” he said.

“You can yourself understand that the terrain, geography is such that we lost thousand soldiers to retain control over it, though the loss of human lives on Siachen has come down in recent years due to improved facilities,” he said. Parrikar was responding to a query of whether the proposalto convert Siachen into a “peace mountain” still exists. In 2005, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had suggested that the world’s highest battlefield be converted into a “peace mountain” without redrawing the boundaries between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan maintain permanent military presence at heights of over 6,000 metres or 20,000 feet.

GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS CONCERNS OVER PAY COMMISSION: THE Government has studied representations fromthearmedforces vis-a-vis the7thPay Commissionandtheir concerns will be addressed“inthenearfuture”, DefenceMinister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday.

“I have interacted with the three service chiefs and discussed the concerns of the forces. The concerns will be addressed in the nearfuture,” he saidonthesidelinesofanInternationalMaritime Conference here. The concerns include the way in which pensions were calculated on the basis of number of years put in at a particular rank.

Another grudge is the risk-hardship matrix. While a soldier posted in the Siachen glacier gets Rs 31,500 as allowance per month, a civilian bureaucrat draws 30 per cent of his salary as “hardship allowance”.