the-south-asian Life & Times                       Oct - Dec 2011




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  Siachen - A Hymn
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 From Battlefield to
 Peace Park?


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Siachen – From Battlefield to ‘Peace Park’?

By Kunal Verma

The 48-mile-long Siachen Glacier is one of the world's longest. Twenty-seven years of ‘refrigerated combat’ on this icy yet beautiful stretch at 18,000 feet, surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world, have brought only twenty-seven years of casualties (from gunfire, frostbite, snow blindness and pulmonary and cerebral oedema), huge financial costs – and an impasse.

A less costly path on the glacier would be one toward peace.  Many people in India and Pakistan, including the negotiators, agree that the conflict is futile, and are hopeful of an accord, but mutual distrust and fear of deception have been the major road blocks.

For the past several years, various organisations, groups, and individuals in South Asia and beyond have been trying to establish a jointly managed conservation area or “Peace Park” in this stretch of east Karakoram Mountains. “It is a call for support based on both science and symbolism.”


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