India's military personnel brave a lot of difficult terrain and living conditions, none more than those posted at the world's highest and coldest battlefield, Siachen. That doesn't stop them from celebrating important dates. Despite temperatures of -23 degree celsius, on January 15, the soldiers stationed at Siachen marked National Army Day by hoisting the flag and singing the national anthem.
Army Day commemorates January 15, 1948 when Lieutenant General KM Cariappa became the Army's first Indian Commander-in-Chief, taking over from British Army General Roy Butcher.
Siachen Glacier, situated at an average altitude of 20,000 feet with temperatures dipping down to -60 degree celsius, is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan, but since 1984 has been under India's control. A BBC report on the glacier says, "because it occupies the harder-to-supply higher ground, India pays the heaviest financial price, currently estimated to be around $1 million a day." Reports of inadequate supplies for soldiers often surface despite this huge cost, and more than combat, the cause of deaths is often avalanches, exposure and altitude sickness caused by the thin, oxygen-depleted air.
The soldiers posted at Siachen make for great subjects to evoke a sense of national pride. A few years ago a Bharatbala Productions video of the National Anthem, with soldiers at Siachen as the subject, was released and became quite popular.
This year on Republic Day Discovery channel released a special show called Revealed: Siachen documenting the challenges faced by the Indian Army there.