Where the Cold War Never Ends

First Person

Where the Cold War Never Ends

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré

Quartered in snow, silent to remain,
When the bugle calls,
They shall rise and march again.

– Memorial at Siachen Base Camp

I

was stationed at Saddle, a post on a tiny flat plateau on a mountaintop with steep slopes on either side. Located at 5,800 metres, we had arrived there after 21 days of passing lower-altitude posts, getting acclimatised bit by bit. At this kind of a forward post, the temperature dips to -55°C, which is why a soldier’s maximum tenure is never more than three months. That might sound like a short while – a mere quarter – but in Siachen time moves slowly.

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