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Meet Captain Shiva Chauhan, First Indian Army Woman Officer To Be Posted At Siachen Glacier

In a first, Indian Army’s Captain Shiva Chauhan is posted at Siachen’s Kumar Post, located at an altitude of around 15,600 feet in Siachen.

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Captain Shiva Chauhan of Indian Army, first woman officer posted at Siachen Glacier
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Captain Shiva Chauhan has become the first Indian Army woman officer to be posted at a frontline post on the Siachen Glacier. 

The Siachen Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield where temperature drops to up to -50*C. Indian and Pakistani militaries faced off each other at Siachen in 1984 when India won control of key peaks under Operation Meghdoot. 

Chauhan is posted at Siachen’s Kumar Post, located at an altitude of around 15,600 feet in Siachen. 

Hailing Chauhan’s deployment, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called it “an encouraging sign” and conveyed his best wishes to her. 

Meet Indian Army’s Captain Shiva Chauhan

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Captain Shiva Chauhan is the first woman officer of the Indian Army to be posted at the Siachen Glacier. She is from Rajasthan.

Chauhan belongs to the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers. The Corps is composed of three groups — Bombay Sappers, Bengal Sappers, Madras Sappers. Chauhan belongs to the Bengal Sappers, formally called the Bengal Engineering Group (BEG).

Chauhan did her schooling from Rajasthan’s Udaipur. She holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from NJR Institute of Technology, Udaipur.  

Chauhan lost her father at a young age of 11 years and her mother took care of her studies. 

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From her childhood, Chauhan was motivated to join the Indian armed forces and showcased unparalleled zeal during training at Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai and was commissioned into the Engineer Regiment in May 2021, reported PTI.

Significance of Chauhan’s deployment

Captain Shiva Chauhan’s deployment at the Siachen is first such operational deployment of a woman officer.

Chauhan was posted at the Kumar Post on Monday for a three-month stint after she underwent rigorous training, said Indian Army officials to PTI.

The Siachen glacier at the height of around 20,000 feet in the Karakoram range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds.

“It was a proud moment for Indian Army when Captain Shiva Chouhan became the first woman officer to get operationally deployed at the world's highest battlefield, Siachen, after a month's arduous training at Siachen Battle School along with other personnel," said the Indian Army in a statement.

Chauhan was put through rigorous training at the Siachen Battle School where she trained alongside the officers and soldiers of the Indian Army, officials said, adding that the training included endurance training, ice wall climbing, avalanche and crevasse rescue and survival drills.

“In spite of various challenges, Captain Shiva with unflinching commitment successfully completed the training and was all set to be inducted to the Siachen Glacier,” said an official.

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The Indian Army said the team of Sappers led by Chouhan will be responsible for numerous combat engineering tasks and will be deployed at the post for a duration of three months.

In a tweet, Indian Army’s 14 Corps said, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling. Captain Shiva Chauhan of Fire and Fury Sappers became the first woman officer to be operationally deployed in Kumar Post, post completion of arduous training, at the highest battlefield of the world Siachen.”

Sharing the tweet, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Excellent news! I am extremely happy to see more women joining the armed forces and take every challenge in stride. It is a an encouraging sign. My best wishes to Captain Shiva Chauhan.”

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What’s Siachen Glacier, why it’s significant?

Siachen Glacier is at northern-most of India-Pakistan boundary and is not covered in the demarcations of border. 

It’s neither mentioned in Karachi Agreement of 1949 not in the Shimla Agreement of 1972. 

Both India and Pakistan have their interpretations that say they should have rightful control of the Siachen Glacier. Today, thanks to Operation Meghdoot, India controls Siachen Glacier. 

Brigadier (Retired) Mandip Singh noted in an article for think tank Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) that controlling Saltoro Ridge is critical for securing Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

He noted, “Firstly, the Saltoro Ridge overlooks the area of Gilgit–Baltistan of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) that is under dispute with Pakistan. Secondly, it guards the routes leading to Leh, the principal town and capital of Ladakh. Thirdly, it overlooks and dominates the Shaksgam Valley, which was illegally ceded to China by Pakistan. Fourthly, it is close to the Karakoram Pass through which the Karakoram Highway passes connecting Gilgit-Baltistan to Xinjiang Province of China.”

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Of Operation Meghdoot, a government document notes, “Executed in the morning of 13 April 1984 in the highest battlefield in the world, Meghdoot was the first military offensive of its kind. The operation preempted Pakistan's impending Operation Ababeel (which was intended to achieve the same objective as Meghdoot) and was a success, resulting in Indian forces gaining control of the Siachen Glacier in its entirety.”

(With PTI inputs)

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