Operation Meghdoot

April 15, 2024

The Indian Army recently commemorated 40 years since 'Operation Meghdoot' began for securing the Siachen Glacier.

About Operation Meghdoot:

  • It was the code-name for the Indian Armed Forces operation to capture the Siachen Glacier, a strategically crucial region dominating Northern Ladakh.
  • Siachen has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan ever since the Karachi Agreement of 1949, when the area was left undivided due to the hostile terrain and extremely rough weather. 
  • Operation Meghdoot was India’s bold military response to what New Delhi calls Pakistan’s “cartographic aggression” in the uncharted territory of Ladakh, north of map reference NJ9842, where New Delhi and Islamabad had agreed the Line of Control (LoC) ran up to.
  • The primary objective behind this operation was to pre-empt the seizure of Sia La and Bilafond La passes by the Pakistan Army.
  • Launched on April 13, 1984, this military operation was unique as the first assault launched on the world's highest battlefield.
  • It is distinguished by being one of the greatest examples of seamless coordination and synergy between the Indian Army and the Air Force. The military action resulted in Indian troops gaining control of the entire Siachen Glacier.
  • Strategic Importance of the Siachen:
    • Located at a height of around 20,000 feet in the Karakoram Mountain range, the Siachen Glacier is known as the highest militarised zone around the world. 
    • It is located so strategically that while it dominates Shaksgam Valley (ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963) in the north, controls the routes coming from Gilgit Baltistan to Leh from the west, and at the same time, it dominates the ancient Karakoram Pass in the eastern side too.
    • Further, towards the west, it observes nearly the entire of the Gilgit Baltistan, which too is an Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan in 1948.