New Delhi: Notwithstanding Pakistan`s protests, India continues with its civilian mountaineering expeditions to the Siachen Glacier-- the world`s highest battlefield, as the sixth such batch comprising 23 volunteers was on Tuesday flagged off from Leh by the 14 Corps commander.
The expedition which also has three women members, will trek across the treacherous terrain covering a distance of 120 kms over eight days up to an altitude of approximately 16,000 feet, an Army release said.
The expedition, apart from inculcating the spirit of adventure in the members of the trek, will be landmark step towards better civil-military relations as well as providing a platform for mutual interaction and exposure to the challenges faced by the Army, it said.
The first such expedition was held in 2007 after a gap of 30 years. After India`s announcement of the expedition that year, Pakistan had lodged a strong protest calling it against peace efforts between the two countries.
The members of the trek congregated at Leh where they were imparted adequate training and equipment to undertake the trek. The entire trek will be supervised by Army under expert mountaineers to ensure the safety of the trekkers.
"We had seen this terrain only in photographs and heard its stories, but thanks to Army, we have got this life time opportunity to see and experience this wonderful part of our country," an expedition member said.
India and Pakistan have been holding talks at the level of Defence Secretaries to resolve the Siachen issue.