New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday congratulated the women mountaineering team of the Indian Army which summited the Mount Everest- the highest peak of the world.
Congratulating the team members during a "flag-in" ceremony here, Patil said, "Indian Army has added another feather on its cap by fielding a women`s team for undertaking such an extreme adventure with full success".
The 22-member team led by ace mountaineer Colonel Ajay Kothiyal included seven women officers from various branches of the Indian Army. The youngest of the members was 25-year- old Captain Smita.
The team reached the top of the peak on May 25 after a gruelling trek through the South Col region which is also known as `Death Zone` for posing extreme difficulties to the mountaineers.
Subedar Rajendra Jalal, a veteran mountaineer who has already scaled five eight thousand-meter peaks including the Everest in 2003, became the first Indian to summit the highest mountain without supplementary oxygen supply.
Applauding the courage shown by Subedar Jalal who fought altitude sickness and disorientation while climbing the peak, Patil said, "My special compliments to Subedar Rajendra Singh Jalal who is the first Indian Army mountaineer to climb the Everest without using supplementary oxygen."
Recalling the experience of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, who first climbed Mount Everest about sixty years ago, Patil said, "It is so very true. When we achieve success in a challenging task such as going up a mighty mountain, it teaches humility besides helping in overcoming fear and realising the great strength of being a disciplined person."
The expedition was undertaken by the Army Adventure Wing on completion of its 25 years.