July 31, 2023

The first GSI survey of the Siachen

The first GSI survey of the Siachen

Why in the news ?

  • The 65th anniversary of a significant event in the exploration of the Siachen Glacier is being celebrated from June to August 2023.
  • In June 1958, the Geological Survey of India's first expedition to the Siachen Glacier was led by top Indian geologist V.K. Raina.
  • This event holds historical and geo-strategic importance as it dispels the myths that Pakistan had control over the glacier from the very beginning.
  • Grid point NJ 9842 is well-known, as it is the last mutually demarcated point between India and Pakistan, as per the Karachi Ceasefire Agreement of 1949.
  • It also marks the point where the Line of Control, as per the Simla Agreement, comes to an end.

The first Siachen survey

  • Exactly 65 years ago, in June 1958, a prominent Indian geologist named V.K. Raina, who was then serving as an assistant geologist in the GSI (Geological Survey of India), led the first GSI survey of the Siachen Glacier.
  • The Siachen Glacier later became a contentious issue between India and Pakistan and was the site of Operation Meghdoot, launched by the Indian Armed Forces in 1984.
  • In 1956, Mr. Raina took part in the Sasser Kangri expedition organized by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling, where he studied the geology and geomorphology from Nubra Valley to Panamik.
  • Subsequently, in 1957, he was involved in the geological survey of the proposed alignment for the Leh-Manali highway.
  • The year 1958 was of global importance for geologists as it was celebrated as the International Geophysical Year.
  • While some institutions planned research expeditions to the Arctic Circle or Antarctica, the GSI, due to limited resources, proposed to study the Himalayan glacier systems, including the Sikkim Himalaya and the Kumaon Himalaya, and also monitor the glaciers.