Captain Geetika Koul becomes first woman medical officer in Indian Army to be posted in Siachen Glacier

Team India Sentinels Tuesday 5th of December 2023 05:49 PM

Captain Geetika Koul (centre-front) flashing a V sign along with other soldiers at the Siachen base camp. (Photo: Indian Army)

New Delhi: Captain Geetika Koul from the Snow Leopard Brigade has become the second woman officer and the first woman doctor of the Indian Army to be deployed in the Siachen Glacier, the Leh-based XIV Corps, also called the Fire and Fury Corps, said on Tuesday. The snowclad glacier is the highest battlefield in the world and is one of the most inhospitable terrains on the planet.

The Army said Capt Koul was deployed in Siachen after successfully completing the gruelling induction training at the prestigious Siachen Battle School, which is located at the Siachen Glacier area in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas. The training challenges Siachen candidates to the extreme in physical stamina, mental fortitude, ability to climb high altitudes at steep angles, survival skills, how to deal with medical situations, etc.

Capt Koul is the first woman medical officer to be posted in Siachen. However, she is not the first woman Army officer to be operationally deployed there. Before her, Captain Shiva Chouhan, who is an engineering officer from Bengal Sappers, was posted in the world’s highest battlefield.

Before Capt Chouhan, women officers were used to be deployed at the Siachen base camp, which is at an altitude of about 9,000 feet. Capt Chouhan is posted at the Kumar Post at the glacier, which is the headquarters of the Northern Glacier Battalion.

The inhospitable Siachen Glacier is in the Karakoram range, which is the second-highest mountain range in the world. The Karakoram area is part of a complex of ranges that includes the Pamir Mountains, Hindu Kush, and the Himalayas.

The Indian Army holds an advantageous position in the Siachen area over Pakistani hostile positions. Although there have been battle casualties between the Indian and Pakistani troops, more soldiers have died due to the hostile terrain and weather.

The area is full of deadly crevices and prone to avalanches. The area has poor visibility with icy wind blowing constantly. The temperature in the glacier can go up to –50-degrees celsius, which is enough to freeze boiling water into ice in seconds.

In October this year, state-run telecommunications company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) set up a new base transceiver station (BTS) in Siachen glacier to extend mobile communication for the soldiers deployed at over 15,500 feet above sea level. This will enable the soldiers deployed there to be in touch with their families back home.


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