Colonel Narendra ‘Bull’ Kumar (retired), who contributed significantly to the security of our country by paving the way for India’s entry into the Siachen Glacier, died Thursday – the last day of the year 2020.
Born in Rawalpindi – now in Pakistan – in 1933, the mountaineering legend led an Indian army expedition to the Siachin Glacier in April 1984. Preventive mobilization aided then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi , to launch Operation Meghdoot.
“We did this expedition and that’s where we climbed all those high passes. Every time we went there, the Pakistanis would fly over us. And to tease us and make us aware that they knew (of our presence) smoking there. We were not armed and we were scared enough, ”Colonel Kumar said in a previous interview.
Pakistani forces did not know then that the troop led by Colonel Narendra Kumar would pave the way for a full occupation of Saltoro – the chain that runs along the Siachen Glacier.
From a strategic standpoint, whoever controls the Saltoro Range controls Siachen – the crucial strip of land that India occupies between Pakistan in the west and China further east.
Colonel Kumar skied all the passes, dominated by the Indian army, which led to the glacier and established the highest and most inhospitable battlefield in the world.
A few years earlier, in 1978, he had scaled the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga, from its northeastern spur – an attempt that hadn’t been made for 45 years.
He also led expeditions to nine other Himalayan peaks above the altitude of 24,000 feet.
Colonel Narendra Kumar, affectionately known as the “Bull”, was cremated today at Brar Army Square in Delhi. He was 87 years old.
In Indian mountaineering circles, the year 2020 will always be remembered as the year the country lost a legend.