Srinagar: In an unfortunate incident, six Indian soldiers were killed and one went missing when an avalanche struck the Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.
"In a tragic incident, six jawans were killed and one jawan of 1 Assam Regiment is missing when they were buried under an avalanche in sub-sector Hanif, Turtuk area of the Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir today (Sunday)," Lt Col JS Brar, spokesman of Army`s Srinagar based 15 Corps, said.
"At 6.15 am today our posts at a height of over 17,000 feet came under an avalanche. Immediately avalanche rescue teams along with avalanche rescue dogs were pressed into rescue operation.
"Six jawans have unfortunately lost their lives. Their mortal remains have been recovered. One jawan is still missing. Unfortunately, the rescue had to be halted due to adverse weather conditions," the spokesman said.
One soldier is still missing and efforts are being made to locate him, Brar said. "The incident happened during inter- post movement of the soldiers," Army sources said in New Delhi.
This is for the first time in several years that an avalanche has hit an Indian position in the glacier area, the sources said. Siachen glacier is considered as the world`s highest battlefield.
The Assam unit is part of the 102 Siachen Brigade and is located at altitudes of around 15-16,000 feet, the sources said.
Brar said the operation to trace the missing soldier will be resumed tomorrow after it was called off during the day due to bad weather.
"Avalanche rescue teams are already deployed at the site. The moment, the weather clears up, we will launch the rescue operation again, he added.
India has deployed its troops in Siachen for close to 30 years now and has lost more people to the weather and terrain than to enemy bullets.
However, it has brought down such casualties to a large extent by ensuring proper adaptation of the personnel to the conditions and through extensive scientific research by DRDO to improve living conditions of jawans there.
An avalanche had hit a Pakistani Army camp in the glacier area last year killing over 100 troops.
India and Pakistan, which have held several rounds of talks to resolve the Siachen issue, were close to an agreement a few years back on demilitarising the region but the accord failed to see the light of the day as Pakistan refused to authenticate its military position.
The J&K authorities had issued an avalanche warning for the higher reaches of the Kashmir Valley, advising them to move about with utmost caution.
There has been heavy snowfall in the higher reaches in the past three days. The weather office has forecast "fair weather" in the Kashmir Valley from Monday.