New Delhi: Ignoring Pakistan`s protests, the
Indian Army is organising a civilian mountaineering and
trekking expedition to the Siachen Glacier in September for
the fourth year in a row.
"The Siachen trekking expedition this year will be held
from September 1 to 27 and civilian mountaineers will be taken
up to heights of more than 15,000 feet in the glacier area,"
an Army official said here.
The expedition, the first of which was held in 2007 after
a gap of 30 years, is meant to show to the international
community that Indian troops hold the Siachen Glacier area and
Pakistan does not have any claim over it.
After the Army announced its plans to take a civilian
expedition to Siachen, Pakistan had lodged a strong protest in
2007, calling it "incongruous" to ongoing peace efforts
between the two countries.
Despite protests from Pakistan, India maintains that it
does not need Pakistan`s approval to send trekkers to the 78
km-long Siachen, which is essentially an Indian territory.
The expedition was to be held last year also but had to be
called off in view of the cloud burst in Leh.
This year`s expedition will include between 40 an 45
people who will be selected from various agencies.
The expedition members are acclimatised in the initial
period of the trek before they proceed towards the heights
which experience temperatures between minus 15 to minus 25
degrees during nights, they said.
India and Pakistan have been holding Defence Secretary-
level talks to resolve the Siachen issue with any fruitful