19 September, 2020

The Siachen Factor

This is the first spot report from the sensitive Turtuk Sector where there has been a blanket ban on the media since the war began. Ishan Joshi and photographer Gauri Gill smuggled in and out to report on a harsh mountain war. Given the army's securi

The Siachen Factor
To the West, the Northern Areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. To the East, the Aksai Chin/Karakoram frontier with China. Turtuk-in many ways a "chicken neck" caught between these two-in the inhospitable, barren remoteness of Ladakh, is the eastern-most sector of the main battlefront which begins after crossing the Zojila pass on the Srinagar-Leh highway. Turtuk is perhaps strategically the most crucial sector for both sides in this conflict. Men and material are being pumped into the area. Truckloads of jawans are arriving into the sector almost daily.

The frontline of the war being waged by the Indian army moves west to east from Zojila, passing through the Mushkoh Valley, Dras, Kargil and Batalik. But from here, the LoC turns sharply north to Turtuk. While the other sectors of the war are approachable (to the north) from the Srinagar-Leh highway, to reach Turtuk, nestling on the banks of the Shyok river, Indian troops have to travel up to Leh from where they are transported across the 18,380 feet high Khardungla Pass and through the Nubra Valley.

But the journey here is...



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