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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently paid a visit to Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield an average altitude of 20,000 feet. Watch a short clip!
Nirmala Sitharaman took charge as Defence Minister on September 3, 2017. She became the second female Defence Minister after Indira Gandhi who had served as the Defence Minister in 1975 and again in 1980-82.
Situated in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen Base Camp is the highest, coldest and toughest training ground across the globe. The Indian Army captured it in 1984 through Operation Meghdoot.
The average snowfall on this 76.4 km long glacier is 1000cm (35 ft) and the temperature dips to – 60 c during winters. Every day and night our soldiers here have to deal not only with adversaries, but also with extreme weather conditions.
Earlier in 2014 the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had visited Siachen on Diwali. This time the newly elected Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman decided to meet these brave hearts on the occasion of Dusshera.
“Standing just below the Martyr’s Memorial, I feel completely small and at the same time I feel honoured and humbled that even though I come here as Raksha Mantri there are no words to speak about the kind of sacrifice our men have made. This is a very treacherous terrain either in summer or in winter when it is also snow covered. Even now in the various outposts all around the glacier our men are guarding us. There is a thick blanket of unpredictable surface of snow, so they are whether summer or winter keeping themselves alert in a terrain where you can’t even breathe easily,” said the Defence Minister in an interview to DD News.
Feminists have relished the fact that decades after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a woman has been appointed as the Defence Minister of the country. In practice, the important thing to be kept in mind is whether it would lead to any betterment of the defence mechanism of the country.
The soldiers are the cornerstone of the four Armed Forces of India – Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Their living conditions in the base camps should not be compromised. There should be no dearth in the supply of food grains, or modern equipments to fight back the enemy.
The role of women in the armed forces for a long time, was limited to the medical profession i.e. as doctors and nurses. Currently, women in the non-medical cadre are appointed as Short Service Commissioned (SSC) officers. More recruitment of women in the armed forces of the nation is essential to pave the way for a truly gender neutral society.
Only time will tell us how successful Nirmala Sitharaman turns out to be as the Defence Minister of India. But enjoy watching this video at Siachen!