New Delhi, Sept. 5: The Indian and US military establishments are understood to be holding a joint exercise in Kashmir near the border with China.
Defence ministry sources said the logistics of the exercise were still being worked out. They refused to give the location but said the drill could be at a height of around 5,000 metres near the Karakoram range. Special forces from both countries are participating in the exercise.
This raises the possibility of US troops being in the vicinity of the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest and coldest battlefield, where Indian and Pakistani forces are locked in a perpetual standoff. Siachen is also one of the most secretive and strategic locations for the Indian military.
The US military has carried out studies on the Kargil conflict that led to a “Siachenisation” of a long stretch of the Line of Control. Since the 1999 war, Indian and Pakistani forces regularly man and patrol snowbound heights -- just as in the Siachen Glacier -- all through the year.
In the recent past, too, Indian and US forces have been engaged in military exercises adaptable to extreme cold weather conditions. The latest was in Alaska in June.