Beyond NJ 9842: The Siachen Saga by Nitin A. Gokhale

Air Cmde Arjun Subramaniam is a serving officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The views offered are his own and do not reflect the views of the IAF.
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  • January 2015
    Book Review

    The history of the 20th century has for a long time looked at the inhospitable Russian Tundra in winter as the most hostile battleground that armies could experience. Hitler’s defeat at Stalingrad in the bleak winter of 1942 and the decimation of his Panzer divisions by hardy and acclimatised Russian forces remains one of the key turning points of World War II. Hannibal’s epic crossing of the Alps in 218 BC and Napoleon’s over-confident attempt to conquer Russia in 1814 remain two other epic campaigns not only against human adversaries, but against the fierce elements of altitude and nature. Some of the battles fought by Thimayya’s Srinagar division against advancing invaders from Skardu and Gilgit at Zozila pass in Ladakh in the early summer of 1948, and the battles fought by the Indian army in 1965 and 1971 in the Kargil and Partapur sectors at altitudes of 18,000 feet are examples of courage in the face of hostile weather and terrain. In his recent book titled Beyond NJ 9842: The Siachen Saga, Nitin Gokhale, one of India’s most committed and respected defence correspondents, has provided the wider strategic community with an incisive account of three decades of operations by the Indian Army (IA) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the Siachen Glacier, arguably the most hostile battlefield of recent times.