Army climber who helped India secure Siachen death

Col. Narendra Kumar (ret), a former top mountaineer who was instrumental in helping India secure the Siachen Glacier, died Thursday of an age-related illness in the army research and reference hospital. He was 87 years old. He was the first to report Pakistani military activities on the Siachen Glacier.

The military launched Operation Meghdoot in April 1984 to secure the glacier by occupying key passages and ridges in the Saltoro Range based on reconnaissance reports from Kumar, officials said. Affectionately known as the “ Bull ” in military circles for his tenacity, the highly decorated veteran received the Padma Shri, Arjun and Kirti Chakra award, India’s second peacetime bravery award. .

“First to report Pakistani misdeeds in Siachen by sending patrols and mountaineering expeditions to the glacier region. India was thus able to prevent the Pakistani attempt to occupy the Saltoro channel … Hi! former army chief Gen. VP Malik (retd) tweeted on Thursday.

Other veterans have also taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Colonel Kumar, with some calling him a legend.

“Absolute LEGEND! The one who raised the red flag on Pak’s evil plans on #Siachen Glacier. Had the privilege of being associated with the FIRST Col Kumar Glacier Expedition in 1978. We eliminated one casualty from the most important post, right in the middle, aptly named KUMAR. RIP Sir, ”Air Vice-Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd) wrote on Twitter.

A former student of the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Colonel Kumar was appointed to the Kumaon regiment in 1953.

“An outstanding climber, he was the first Indian to climb Mount Nanda Devi. He climbed Mount Everest in 1965, Mont Blanc (the highest peak in the Alps) and later Mount Kanchenjunga (from the hardest northeast spur). He has climbed all of these peaks despite losing four toes to frost on previous expeditions, ”officials said. He was also a member of the Antarctic Task Force in 1981.

Had it not been for his expeditions to the Siachen Glacier and the Saltoro Range as commander of the High Altitude War School, Pakistan would have annexed the glacier, officials said.