The Battle for Siachen Glacier: Beyond Just a Bilateral Dispute

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  • September 2017
    Strategic Essay

    Contemporary scholarship working on Indo-Pak issues has tended to view Siachen as a bilateral issue, and therefore, not much literature has been generated analysing the conflict beyond this spatio-temporal realm. Stephen Cohen terms the battle over Siachen as a ‘struggle of two bald men over a comb’ and dismisses the conflict as militarily unimportant. Veteran journalist Myra Macdonald’s book Heights of Madness gives an excellent account of the Siachen saga from both Indian and Pakistani sides but does not provide any strategic evaluation of the conflict. Lt Gen. Chibber, under whose authority Operation Meghdoot was launched, held that Indian action sought to deter Pakistan rather than permanently occupy the heights and the passes, and it was certainly not meant to initiate a conflict.