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Increasing ‘happiness quotient’ of Indian soldiers: A concept that belongs on paper alone

Multiple media reports state that the that DRDO is to tie-up with IIT-Kharagpur to increase the ‘happiness quotient’ of Indian soldiers; some say the endeavour is devised to bring the smile back to the faces of the soldiers, and others say it’s to heighten the morale of soldiers. A comprehensive soldier fitness programme is reportedly being worked out, aimed at increasing happiness quotient of the Indian Army. Manas K Mandal, director-general of Life Sciences at DRDO says, “We are looking at devising ways to build resilience among our soldiers, and it can be done by increasing the happiness quotient among them. We will be working with the Rekhi Centre of Excellence for the Science of Happiness at IIT-Kharagpur.”

Mandal, along with Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, director of IIT-Kharagpur told the media that “that an increase in happiness levels increases productivity, resulting in increased sense of loyalty in soldiers”. The reports state that “hundreds of soldiers have committed suicide due to stress in the past six or seven years and many cases of suicides have been reported in Kashmir after the Burhan Wani case.”

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The idea of the ‘happiness quotient’ has apparently been derived from the concept of gross national happiness (GNH) and the happiness index introduced by the King of Bhutan in 1972. Bhutan is ranked first in the world happiness index. Mandal told the media, “Unlike the US Army serving in Afghanistan, where soldiers require programmes to de-stress, our men on the frontlines do not need such tools. Most of our soldiers come from struggling families and continue to face hardships on the job, so they are much less vulnerable compared to US soldiers in Afghanistan, who are used to abundance.”

“Working in extreme weather conditions (in Siachen, for example) for a prolonged period does require a lot of resilience, which we can induce through this programme (read proposed programme),” Chakrabarti said, adding, “This is an emerging discipline and is going to be one of the key pillars by which human development will happen.”

In the above context, both Mandal and Chakrabarti would be well-advised to be very careful of what they say to the media with reference to the army. The loyalty of the Indian soldier is unquestionably the very best. An odd case of fratricide does not mean that you start questioning the loyalty of soldiers and start working on a programme to educate soldiers across the board about loyalty. On the contrary, those involved with working on the proposed programme need to go and spend some days living with troops at the frontline to see why they are stressed out. Dr Abdul Kalam (later president) as principal scientific advisor had remarked after his first visit to Siachen, “I wish I had come to this area earlier during my 26 years with the DRDO.”

Both Mandal and Chakrabarti actually owe an apology to the army soldiers for questioning their loyalty, especially at a time when the army is being denigrated, including by putting army soldiers below the policeman in terms of pay and allowances.

Morale again is a function of command. No amount of courses, cadres or education programs can teach morale to the soldiers unless there is an improvement in the stressful environment in which they are operating. Quoting Wani’s killing when talking of soldier suicides is also stupid. Surely, soldiers are not committing suicide in mourning or euphoria over this terrorist having been killed. Much before Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on yoga and successfully introduced the International Yoga Day, whole infantry battalions were practicing yoga during their entire tenure on the Saltoro Massif in Siachen Glacier, and had been coming out stress-free, some even without a single weather casualty. Mandal should also know that number of suicides in units deployed in peace is more than in those in units deployed in the field.

The logic that our soldiers coming from struggling families that continue to face hardships on the job, so they are much less vulnerable to stress cannot be applied across the board because what is described as “struggling families” are mostly joint families. The soldier becomes aware of family or social clash immediately with modern communications, and since he cannot rush home every time because of commitments, his stress levels go up. The civil administration seldom entertains problems of the families back home and why should they when you have politicos making occasional statements that soldiers are meant to die anyway?

The Centre making any effort toward sthis is out of the question when peacefully-protesting veterans are baton-charged by the police, while serving soldiers including wards of those being beaten up, watch in horror. The defence minister tells Service Chiefs to immediately implement 7th Pay Commission, placing the soldiers under even the police and civilian defence employees, and the department of ex-servicemen (DESW) takes pleasure in denying dues to every widow and even the war-wounded and disabled, forcing them into prolonged litigation they can ill-afford.

How can the DRDO-IIT evolve programs for the military without going and living with the soldiers along the LoC and experiencing battle environments in conflict situations?

The happiness quotient is directly proportional to pay commissions and the partial OROP that has been granted, plus living conditions of the soldiers and their families. The abject penury of the families of the 18 martyrs of the Uri attack shown on TV was moving. With the breadwinner gone, every penny is vital to them, especially when there is no provision to even provide a job to a family member as in the case of police. The type of response for the Uri attack doesn’t raise the morale or happiness of the soldier either with terrorists having killed and burned alive 18 of their kin.

Sure, the army must ensure that the officer-soldier relationship remains the very best at all times but what is the DRDO and IIT going to do about the happiness quotient in the civil-military relationship that appears to have reached its lowest nadir? How will Mandal tackle the mounting happiness quotient of the politico-bureaucratic mafia that goes euphoric every time the happiness quotient of the soldier declines? Besides, what Mandal knows and Chakrabarti does not is that during the Kargil Conflict, General VP Malik — then Army Chief — was forced to say, “We will fight with what we have.”

The DRDO is the acknowledged culprit within the military as the prime contributor to the low levels of happiness of the soldier. With its sprawling mass and manpower, the DRDO has failed to provide the soldier with adequate clothing, weapons, surveillance equipment for day and night operations, communications, survival equipment etc when say in the LoC environment, the threat to life is greater and demands on the soldier to remain vigilant 24×7 are constantly giving them limited sleep — leave alone the hawks angling to increase their stress through human rights violation allegations, most of which are false.

The Bhutanese concept of GNH and happiness index of the Bhutanese in Bhutan’s environment is something entirely different from the happiness quotient of the Indian soldier. From what is apparent, the proposed programme is still an “emerging discipline” and the Rekhi Centre of IIT-Kharagpur primarily runs eight-week programmes for corporate organisations. How can the DRDO-IIT evolve programs for the military without going and living with the soldiers along the LoC and experiencing battle environments in conflict situations? The policymakers need to look into these issues least we land up in another wasteful project of the DRDO sans any significant gain.

The author is a veteran Lieutenant-General of the Indian Army

Three Indian girls scale Everest; two others found dead

There was both ecstasy and agony for India from Mount Everest. While history was scripted when three Class XII girl students from Ladakh scaled the Mount Everest last week, a 58-year-old Indian mountaineer, who went missing nearly a week ago, was found dead on Friday.Attempts were also being made to locate another Indian climber whose body was reportedly lying above 8,000 metres on the world’s highest mountain.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stanzlin Laskit, Tashi Laskit and Tsering Angmo, all 18 years old, were part of the first-ever all girls expedition of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) that scaled the highest peak of the world.”Hundred cadets were selected in trials held pan-India. These cadets then underwent a special mountain course at HMI, Darjeeling,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command.”Fifteen cadets were selected for the next phase based on their performance. In August 2015, the team set off on the second pre-Everest expedition to Mount Trishul (23,360 ft), and selected 10 girl cadets for the Everest Expedition,” said Colonel Goswami.Later, the cadets underwent a month-long intensive winter training at the world’s highest battlefield in Siachen Glacier, at the Indian Army’s Siachen Battle School, before setting course for Nepal.The team was divided into two and the first attempted to scale the Everest on May 21, 2016, and succeeded. The second team scaled the Everest the next day.Major General SS Jakhar, additional director general of NCC, said that by their outstanding achievement, these girls “will be suitably felicitated and rewarded on their return.”Meanwhile, according to Wangchu Sherpa, managing director at Trekking Camp Nepal, a team of six Sherpas retrieved the body of Paresh Chandra Nath above Camp IV. His body is being brought to Camp II, Sherpa said.However, they could not move ahead from the higher camp to locate another missing climber, Goutam Ghosh, whose body was reportedly lying on the high mountain. Five people have died so far during this Himalayan climbing season, which saw about 400 mountaineers summit the world’s highest peak, officials have said.A Dutch and an Australian woman died of altitude sickness last Friday and Saturday, respectively. A Nepali guide died on Thursday after he slipped and fell 2,000 metres. Another Indian climber had died a few days ago.More than three dozen other climbers have developed frostbite or become sick near the summit in the past few days. Nearly 40 climbers, including an Indian woman, have developed frostbite during this Himalayan climbing season. Last year, devastating earthquake caused the climbing season to be cancelled and climbing attempts were largely abandoned in 2014 after an avalanche above the base camp killed 16 Sherpa guides.At least 19 climbers were killed in the avalanche triggered by the earthquake.—With Agencies

Despite quality training, India has lost 41 soldiers to Siachen Glacier since 2013

New Delhi: Forty-one soldiers have lost their lives in Siachen Glacier since 2013, the government said on Friday.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply in Lok Sabha said 10 soldiers were killed in 2013, eight and nine in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

“Till 31 March, 14 soldiers have died this year,” Parrikar said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Troops being posted in high altitude areas are trained in ‘Basic and Advance’ skills in mountains and snow-bound areas, he said, adding medical equipment exist in all posts to cater for emergencies.

Best quality of winter clothing and equipment is procured to prevent weather-related casualties.

Modern means of conveyance like snow scooters are utilised to ensure timely reaction to any eventuality and reduce fatigue.

A number of specialised equipment have also been deployed in avalanche- prone areas, he said.

Siachen braveheart Hanamanthappa’s wife urges youth to shun ‘anti-national’ activities

Siachen braveheart Lance Naik Hanamanthappa’s wife, Mahadevi, on Thursday urged the youth to refrain from indulging in ‘anti-national’ activities.Speaking at an event in Nagpur, Mahadevi said that she was saddened to hear about the recent ‘anti-national’ activities taking place in the nation, adding that youth must be prepared to sacrifice life for the nation.”My husband wanted to join the army. He also got selected in police but he joined army. I heard that anti-national activities are taking place in the country, I am saddened by it. We are born in Bharata and Bharata mata has given us place to live, we are misusing it. I urge youths to not do it. We must be ready to give our lives for the nation,” she said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She also said that she would her daughter to the army to serve the nation.”I do not have a son. I will send my daughter for nations service. I will send her to army,” she said.Lance Naik Hanamanthappa breathed his last on February 11 at Army’s Research and Referral Hospital. He had slipped into a deeper state of coma and was extremely critical with worsening multiple organ dysfunctions. He was found to be conscious but drowsy and disoriented when was evacuated to the army’s base camp at the Siachen Glacier. He was flown to Delhi from Siachen on Tuesday morning in a special air ambulance and admitted to the hospital.Lance Naik Hanumanthappa was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier.

9 Siachen martyrs’s bodies flown to their homes

The mortal remains of nine Siachen bravehearts which were stuck due to bad weather in Siachen Glacier were on Monday brought to the Palam Airport here where hundreds of people gathered to pay their tributes. While Lance Naik Hanumanthappa survived under the avalanche and later succumbed in Delhi, nine of his fellow soldiers’ bodies were pulled out too after they got buried in an avalanche at the world’s highest battlefield on February 3.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Air Force planes later flew the bodies to their families in Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madurai, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.Life of these martyrs of 19 Madras Regiment.Subedar Nagesha: The Junior Commissioned Officer served 12 years in tough field areas out of his 22 years of total service. He participated in Operation Parakram and also served in Operation Rakshak at Mendhar in Jammu & Kashmir for two years where he was actively involved in counter insurgency operations. He volunteered to serve with Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu & Kashmir he also volunteered to serve as a Commando in NSG for three years.Havildar Elumalai M: He joined 19th Battalion of the Madras Regiment in 1996 and conducted several successful small team operations against terrorists in both Jammu & Kashmir and North East during his nine years of field service. The non commissioned officer had passed his promotion tests and was about to pickup ranks of a Junior Commissioned Officer.Lance Havildar S Kumar: He served in difficult and challenging field tenures for nine years out of his 17 years service to the nation. The soldier also has rare distinction of serving in the Siachen Glacier twice. he took active part in Operation Parakram on the Western Border from 2001-2002.Lance Naik Sudheesh B: He served in Jammu & Kashmir fighting the insurgency and also in Operation Rhino in the North East where he was part of the Quick Reaction Team.Sepoy S Mustaq Ahmed: He joined the Army in 2004. Hailing from the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, in his career spanning over a decade he had formed part of the Battalion counter militancy in the North East as also in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.Sepoy Mahesha PN: Joined Army in 2005. During his career, he served in North East from 2009 to 2012 where he was actively involved in counter insurgency operations. He again volunteered to serve with Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu & Kashmir from Feb 2012 to June 2014.Sepoy Rama Moorthy N: Joined Army in 2009 and in the short span of seven years of his service, he was involved in operation in North East and again volunteered for Rashtriya Rifles to fight counter insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir.Sepoy Ganesan G: During his career spanning over six years, he served in Counter Insurgency Operations both in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East. In August 2015, when his Battalion was inducted in Siachen,, he was the youngest in the group.Sepoy (Nursing Assistant) A SURYAVNSHI SV: The soldier completed his basic training from Army Medical Corps Center & College in 2011. He managed the responsibility of Medical Inspection Rooms during Operation Meghdoot on 06 Oct 2015.

Siachen braveheart: Lance Naik Koppad’s condition further deteriorates

Despite aggressive therapy and supportive care, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad’s condition has deteriorated, informed the Army Medical bulletin. Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who was found alive six days after being buried under 25 feet snow, was admitted Delhi’s Army Research and Referral Hospital. The medical team at R&R Hospital is monitoring his situation continuously and is treating him with best expertise and resources available in the world, the bulletin had earlier said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The hospital has said he is expected to have a stormy course in the “next 24 hours” due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body.Also read: Woman offers to donate kidney to critical Lance Naik KoppadHanamanthappa was flown out by a helicopter on Tuesday from the site of the avalanche that hit his post at Siachen Glacier along with a medical specialist to the base camp at the glacier, from where he was brought to the Thois air base. He was then transferred to Delhi by a fixed-wing aircraft of IAF along with a critical care specialist of the force and a medical specialist from the base camp.Hanamanthappa is being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons. He has been administered fluids, drugs to bring up his blood pressure, besides antibiotics.

dna evening Must Reads: From Siachen braveheart’s health update to David Headley’s deposition

1. Siachen braveheart’s condition remains critical: Army hospitalThe condition of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad of 19 Madras regiment, who was rescued alive six days after being buried under tonnes of ice in Siachen Glacier, remains very critical, the army said today. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Woman offers to donate kidney to critical Lance Naik Koppad​2. Return of Odd-Even: Arvind Kejriwal to announce dates tomorrowThe ‘odd-even’ scheme is “all set” make a comeback in the national capital, the dates to which will be announced by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tomorrow. Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that the government will make the announcement after reviewing over 11 lakh responses received from the public through multiple channels. Read more here3. New Hampshire win shows Donald Trump’s Prez bid cannot be taken lightlyDonald Trump served notice on Tuesday to those who have refused to take his 2016 White House campaign seriously: The celebrity real-estate developer and former reality show host is no joke.While Trump had been expected to win New Hampshire’s nominating contest, he swamped the Republican field by almost 20 points, demonstrating that his passionate, anti-establishment supporters could be relied on to show up and vote when it counts. Read more here4. RK Pachauri ‘demoted, not promoted’, says lawyer”This is completely false, this post is in existence since the inception of TERI, which was somewhere in 1970s. JRD Tata used to be the chairman and Darbari Seth used to be the vice-chairman. This post is there since then. As of now, no one was occupying this. And, there is other allegation that this is some kind of promotion,” RK Pachauri’s lawyer Ashish Dixit said. Read more here5. Day 3 of David Headley’s deposition before Mumbai court adjourned due to technical snagLashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley’s deposition before a Mumbai court was on Wednesday adjourned due to a technical glitch in the video conference from the US. In the last two days, Headley has revealed several details of the planning that led to the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people and injured 309. Read more here

Hanamanthappa ‘highly-motivated’, served in ‘difficult, challenging’ areas, says officer

New Delhi: Army man Hanamanthappa Koppad, who survived for six days buried under tonnes of snow in the Siachen Glacier, is a highly-motivated soldier and has served in difficult and challenging areas for most of his 13 years in the army.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. IBNLiveLance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. IBNLive

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. IBNLive

Describing him as a “highly-motivated and physically fit” 33-year-old soldier, a senior officer said Koppad — who was enrolled in 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment on 25 October 2002 — had displayed remarkable initiative.

“He has served for 10 years in difficult and challenging areas out of his 13 years of service,” he said.

Lance Naik Koppad has served in Mahore in Jammu and Kashmir from 2003 to 2006 where he was actively involved in
counter-insurgency operations.

He again volunteered to serve with 54 Rashtriya Rifles (Madras) in Jammu and Kashmir from 2008 to 2010 and displayed indomitable courage in fighting terrorism.

Koppad also volunteered to serve in the North-East from 2010 to 2012 where he actively participated in successful
operations against NDFB and Ulfa.

He was serving in the super high-altitude areas of Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir from August last year and was chosen for deployment at one of the highest posts at an altitude of 19,600 feet since December, where personnel have to encounter temperatures of below minus 40 degrees Celsius and winds of up to 100 kmph.

Koppad was rescued on Monday from an altitude of 20,500 feet by a team of over 150 soldiers and two canines.

PTI

Siachen avalanche survivor Lance Naik’s condition remains critical: Army hospital

New Delhi: The condition of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad of 19 Madras regiment, who was rescued alive six days after being buried under tonnes of ice in Siachen Glacier, remains very critical, the army said on Wednesday.

“He continues to battle the odds and his medical condition remains very critical,” a medical bulletin issued by Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi said.

Hanamanthappa remains ventilator-dependent since arrival in the hospital on Tuesday, it said.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy: IBNLiveLance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy: IBNLive

The medical team at R&R Hospital is monitoring his situation continuously and is treating him with best expertise and resources available in the world, the bulletin said.

The hospital has said he is expected to have a stormy course in the “next 24 hours” due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body.

Hanamanthappa was flown out by a helicopter on Tuesday from the site of the avalanche that hit his post at Siachen Glacier along with a medical specialist to the base camp at the glacier, from where he was brought to the Thois air base.

He was then transferred to Delhi by a fixed-wing aircraft of IAF along with a critical care specialist of the force and a medical specialist from the base camp.

Hanamanthappa is being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons. He has been administered fluids, drugs to bring up his blood pressure, besides antibiotics.

PTI

PM Narendra Modi breaks protocol to visit Siachen soldier

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who was miraculously found alive after remaining under a huge mass of snow for six days in Siachen Glacier, he cared little for his security protocol, throwing his elite security guards into a tizzy.Sources said the PM noticed the story of Hanumanthappa’s survival, after glancing through the usual information brief in the morning. He first rang up the Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and came to know that the soldier had been rushed to Delhi and was lodged in the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital at Dhaula Kuan in Delhi. To the surprise of the Special Protection Group (SPG) commandoes, Modi walked towards the reception of 7 Race Course Road, his official residence, where the PM’s BMW convoy is parked. He boarded and took the front seat on a Range Rover, which did not even have a beacon light. Sources said this was actually a tailing car and not meant for the VVIP.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister’s motorcade comprises a dozen-odd vehicles, including two armoured BMW 7 Series Sedan, six BMW X3 and a Mercedes Benz ambulance. A Tata Safari jammer also accompanies the convoy, besides a few more escort vehicles.Moreover, there was not adequate security at the hospital as well. The SPG, though flashed the VVIP movement on its wireless system, it was too late for the Delhi Police to catch it up and guard roads. The ambulance and jammers started almost five minutes later, when they realised that the PM had ordered the driver to move. The SPG commandos armed with FN F2000 Assault Rifles and Glock 17 Pistols (hidden in their suits) and are well connected with the rest of the security detail, through a myriad of communication devices.”No words are enough to describe the endurance and indomitable spirit of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. He is an outstanding soldier,” Modi tweeted. “Team of doctors is attending to Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. We are all hoping and praying for the best (sic),” Modi added.Just before visiting the hospital, the prime minister tweeted: “Going to see Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, with prayers from the entire nation.” He said all the help that the family of the injured soldier requires will be also taken care of in order to assist them in this hour of anxiety and worry.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad has served in many difficult terrains

33-year-old Hanamanthappa Koppad was enrolled in 19th Battalion of the Madras Regiment on 25 Oct 2002. The individual displayed high degree of initiative and has served 10 years in difficult and challenging areas out of 13 years of total service. During his illustrious career the individual has served in Mahore (J&K) from 2003 to 2006 where he was actively involved in counter insurgency operations. He again volunteered to serve with 54 Rashtriya Rifles (MADRAS) in J&K from 2008 to 2010 where he displayed indomitable courage and gallant in fighting terrorism during his tenure.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Koppad also volunteered to serve in the North East from 2010 to 2012 where he actively participated in successful operations against NDFB and ULFA. He was serving in the super high altitude areas of Siachen Glacier from Aug 2015 and was chosen for deployment on one of the highest posts at an altitude of 19600 feet since Dec 2015, encountering temperature well below minus 40 degrees Centigrade and winds up to 100 km/hr. He is happily married to Smt Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and is blessed with a two year old daughter (Netra Koppad).

Siachen miracle: Lance Naik Koppad had served in ‘difficult, challenging’ areas, says senior officer

Army man Hanamanthappa Koppad, who survived for six days buried under tonnes of snow in the Siachen Glacier, is a highly-motivated soldier and has served in difficult and challenging areas for most of his 13 years in the army.Describing him as a “highly-motivated and physically fit” 33-year-old soldier, a senior officer said Koppad — who was enrolled in 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment on October 25, 2002 — had displayed remarkable initiative.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He has served for 10 years in difficult and challenging areas out of his 13 years of service,” he said.Lance Naik Koppad has served in Mahore in Jammu and Kashmir from 2003 to 2006 where he was actively involved in counter-insurgency operations. He again volunteered to serve with 54 Rashtriya Rifles (Madras) in J-K from 2008 to 2010 and displayed indomitable courage in fighting terrorism.Koppad also volunteered to serve in the north-east from 2010 to 2012 where he actively participated in successful operations against NDFB and ULFA. He was serving in the super high-altitude areas of Siachen Glacier in J-K from August last year and was chosen for deployment at one of the highest posts at an altitude of 19,600 feet since December, where personnel have to encounter temperatures of below minus 40 degrees Celsius and winds of up to 100kmph.Koppad was rescued yesterday from an altitude of 20,500 feet by a team of over 150 soldiers and two canines.

It’s a rebirth for us, says Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad’s wife

Dharwad, Karnataka: “It is a rebirth for all of us,” said Mahadevi, wife of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, with a sense of relief as the family reacted to the news of his miraculous survival after remaining buried under snow for six days at Siachen Glacier.

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's mother and wife at their home in Betadoor village in Hubli on Tuesday.  Hanumanthappa, who is being treated at Army hospital in Delhi, was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier. PTILance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's mother and wife at their home in Betadoor village in Hubli on Tuesday.  Hanumanthappa, who is being treated at Army hospital in Delhi, was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier. PTI

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad’s mother and wife at their home in Betadoor village in Hubli on Tuesday. Hanumanthappa, who is being treated at Army hospital in Delhi, was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier. PTI

“My husband’s grandmother inspired him in his life. Her prayers saved him from certain death in Siachen. It is a 
rebirth for all of us,” Mahadevi, residing at Betadur village in Kundagol taluk of Dharwad district, said.

Hanumanthappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday after being buried under 25 feet of snow for six
days following an avalanche that had hit his post at an altitude of 19,600 feet where the temperature was minus 45
degrees Celsius.

Mahadevi said the family was going through a painful ordeal after the members came to know of the tragedy, but the 
news of his survival brought smiles back on faces.

“We were going through a painful ordeal after the avalanche struck…The news of his survival brought smiles back on our faces. We were all crying and almost lost hope. I didn’t know what to do – I have one-and-half-year old girl child,” she said.

Eshwar, Hanamanthappa’s cousin, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Koppad who is on a ventillator at
the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi.

“What should I say about the gesture Modi has shown to a simple soldier. It is heartening that a person who is Prime Minister of India visited him,” he told PTI.

Eshwar also appreciated the concern shown by Army officials who had visited the family members and gave hope of
his survival.

“The army officials had visited us and instilled hope by saying ‘don’t worry, nothing will happen. The Army had said will find him out and retrieve him alive from the glacier,” he said.

The family of six members left for Goa from where they would take a flight to Delhi in the evening to be with
Hanamanthappa who is critical, Eshwar said.

Eshwar said the entire Betadur village greeted the news of survival of Hanumanthappa with a sense of relief.

“Some of them were offering prayers in temples for Hanumathappa’s survival. They were happy when they realised
their prayers have been heard by the Almighty,” he said.

Meanwhile, noted Karnataka-based industrialist and MP Rajiv Chandrasekhar has announced he would take care of the
travel and accommodation of Hanumanthappa’s family in New Delhi.

Chandrasekhar said in a statement said that “all the help that the family of the injured soldier requires will be taken care of to assist them in this hour of anxiety and worry.”   

He also prayed for Hanamanthappa’s speedy  recovery and support to his family in the hour crisis.

“My heartfelt prayers for a speedy recovery and support to his family at this hour. I salute the soldier and hope he recovers  soon,” he said.

He also joined the nation in grieving the death of other nine soldiers in the natural disaster.

“Our soldiers of the Indian Armed forces guard the nation at Siachen – the world’s highest battleground 24 x7  braving not only enemy hostility but also the harsh and inhospitable weather,” he said.

PTI

In images: Training may have helped for two hours, but how did Lance Naik Koppad survive Siachen snow?

The odds were so against him that only the caprice of Fate saved Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. The fact that he is alive after six days under ice and snow is not a miracle. It is unbelievable.

And yet it happened. He should have gone into hypothermia and deep frostbite. Frostbite is so abominable and so irreversible. I have seen it on three sherpas on the Nun Kun climb who were blocked from reaching down to Camp II by an avalanche. The digits of the hand or foot just turn black and a sort of gangrene sets in. There is no thawing, nothing one can do but lop off that part.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. Sameer Yasir/Firstpost

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. Sameer Yasir/Firstpost

This soldier is still fighting for his life. How the hell did he make it this far?

For one, Nature gave him an air pocket under the ice fall. He must have had the presence of mind to do three things. He must have dug deep around his face to increase the air supply. This act is made more workable by the heat from spittle. Keeping his wits about him, he then may have performed a freestyle swimming exercise to ‘float’ to the top level of the ice so he was not crushed. He had enough insulation in his clothing to keep him from freezing, an indicator that our troops are well equipped.

One of the exercises you are taught when you are at high altitude is that if you are hit by an avalanche, try to ‘reach for the sky’. That means one arm over your head reaching skywards. You might be noticed if a hand is sticking out and you will have given yourself space to spit. Expedition leaders also advise that if you can, you urinate so the heat causes a melt.
It is also possible that having not yet been told where he was found, one can surmise that he was tossed to the periphery of the fall because it is at the centre where the avalanche is at its worst.

Just like the rapids you try to hold onto something like a rock sand wrap yourself around it and the force of the ice can throw you anywhere.

This said, all this amounts to very little and is more academic and workable only in limited falls. Under controlled circumstances, all this is possible. When you are being tossed about like a leaf in a storm, it doesn’t hold water. Lance Naik Hanumanthappa beat the most incredible odds and there is no case on record where anyone has survived six days under ice.
It is not explainable. It really isn’t. Spit and space may have played cameo role for the first two hours but after that, it is impossible really to find scientific basis for his survival.

You have to believe in God, whichever one you wish.

And we can only bow our heads in humility and the Power that kept him alive and hope he gets okay. He came this far he has to make it.

For ever and a day, he epitomises the spirit of mankind and the josh that spurs the Indian army.

Soldier rescued from Siachen in coma, remains ‘extremely critical’, says army statement

New Delhi: The Indian Army soldier, found alive six days after being presumed dead under 35 feet of snow in Siachen, is currently in comatose state and continues to be in shock with low blood pressure, an army statement released on Tuesday said.

The soldier, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, has been put on ventilator in ICU, and remains “extremely critical”, the medical bulletin said.

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Image courtesy: IBNLiveLance Naik Hanumanthappa. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy: IBNLive

“He has been placed on a ventilator to protect his airway and lungs in view of his comatose state. He remains extremely critical and is expected to have a stormy course in the next 24 to 48 hours due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body,” the bulletin said.

“He has pneumonia and his investigations have revealed liver and kidney dysfunction. Fortunately there was no cold exposure related frost bite or bone injuries to him,” it said.

“He is being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologists, nephrologists, endocrinologists and surgeons. He has been treated with fluids and drugs to bring up his blood pressure,” the bulletin said.

IANS

Siachen Miracle Rescue: Sorry guys, the video you’re sharing on Facebook and Whatsapp is fake!

Even as Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, the lone survivor among the 10 soldiers who were buried alive by an avalanche at Siachen, was flown to Delhi on Tuesday, a video claiming to be of the rescue operation has been doing the rounds on social media. The video shows a person being dug out from the snow by several people and is being shared widely on Facebook and Whatsapp. However, there is no confirmation of the authenticity of the video or if it is from the rescue operation that found Hanumanthappa on Monday. The official handles of the Indian Army have also not verified the video as genuine. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
ALSO READ Here’s what the Indian Army and Air Force are confronted with in the Siachen GlacierWhile the video may not be of the Indian Army operation, it still looks like a miraculous rescue, as some people said on Twitter.Meanwhile, Thappa was flown to Delhi from Siachen Glacier on Tuesday in a special air ambulance and admitted to the Research and Referral Hospital. His condition is critical but stable and he is undergoing various tests in the hospital, army sources said.Hanumanthappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday, buried under 25 feet of snow for six days after an avalanche hit his post at the altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. The temperature at that altitude was minus 45 degrees Celsius.
ALSO READ Siachen miracle: Rescued soldier flown to Delhi hospital, wife says she wants to see himNine other personnel at the post, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), of Madras Regiment have died, according to Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander. “Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified,” he has said. (With Agency Inputs)

Surviving soldier being flown from Siachen Glacier to Delhi hospital

Jammu: Lance Naik Hanaman Thappa, who was miraculously found alive after remaining buried in snow for six days, was on Tuesday evacuated to the army’s base camp at the Siachen Glacier from where he is being flown to Delhi’s Research and Referral Hospital in a special air ambulance.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He will be brought to the Palam technical airport and airlifted to the hospital, army sources said.

Thappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday after being buried under 25 feet of snow for six days after an avalanche hit his post at the altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan where the temperature was minus 45 degrees Celsius.

The other nine personnel at the post, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and eight other ranks of Madras Regiment, have died, according to Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander. “Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified,” he has said.

PTI

Siachen miracle: 6 days after avalanche, 1 Indian soldier rescued from under 25 ft of snow

New Delhi: One of 10 Indian soldiers feared dead after an avalanche six days ago in the remote Himalayas has been miraculously rescued alive, officials said.

He was found days after authorities said there was little chance of finding survivors following the Siachen Glacier accident last week.

The Siachen glacier. PTIThe Siachen glacier. PTI

The Siachen glacier. PTI

“In the ongoing rescue operation at Siachen, of the 10 soldiers buried… (one) has been found alive,” General D.S. Hooda from the army’s northern command said in a statement Monday.

“All other soldiers are regrettably no longer with us,” it added.

The rescued soldier, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa, was in critical condition and officials would try to evacuate him from the mountain later Tuesday morning to be moved to an army hospital in New Delhi.

“We hope the miracle continues. Pray with us,” the statement said.

He was buried under nearly eight metres (25 feet) of snow, according to PTI news agency.

The soldiers were on duty at an army post on a glacier at an altitude of 5,900 metres when it was hit by the massive avalanche.

Specialist army and air force teams had been searching for the missing soldiers near the de facto border with Pakistan.

The army had said the odds of finding anyone alive were very slim, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences in a message on Twitter last week.

Indian troops patrol the Siachen Glacier, dubbed the world’s highest battlefield, in the Kashmir region, which is disputed between India and Pakistan.

Avalanches and landslides are common in the area during winter and temperatures can drop as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit).

An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan fought over Siachen in 1987. But guns on the glacier have largely fallen silent since a peace process began in 2004.

AFP

Defence minister Parrikar rules out withdrawing troops from Siachen

Visakhapatnam: Terming the recent death of 10 soldiers in an avalanche on the Siachen glacier “painful”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday that withdrawing troops from the world’s highest battlefield could not be a solution.

“This incident is painful to me personally, but the solution that is suggested is not a proper analysis,” he said, referring to demands that Indian soldiers be withdrawn from the glacier.

Asked if the proposal to convert Siachen into a “peace mountain” still exists, the minister said: “The decision (on deploying troops) on Siachen is based on the security of the nation.”

Manohar Parrikar. File photo. Image courtesy: ibnliveManohar Parrikar. File photo. Image courtesy: ibnlive

Manohar Parrikar. File photo. Image courtesy: ibnlive

He said the loss of human lives on the Siachen had come down in recent years due to improved facilities.

“We have lost thousands of soldiers to get control (of the glacier)… The loss of life is less in the last few years,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an International Maritime Conference here.

He said the incident had nothing to do with preparedness. “I don’t find any loose ends. It’s an avalanche… These are unpredictable in nature.”

Parrikar said the search operation was on though there was little hope of survival of the soldiers.

“The hope of any survival is nil. They are covered in tonnes of ice,” he said.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh suggested in 2005 that the world’s highest battlefield be converted into a “peace mountain” without redrawing the boundaries between India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan maintain permanent military presence at heights of over 6,000 metres or 20,000 feet. Both have lost many men to extreme cold in the area where temperature can dip to minus 50 degrees Celsius.

The army has meanwhile deployed advanced equipment to search for its men. These include wall penetrating radars.

Ten soldiers, including a Junior Commissioned Officer, were buried on Wednesday after an avalanche hit their post located 19,000 feet above the sea level on the southern side of the glacier.

IANS

Siachen avalanche: Vice-President, Army Chief condole death of security personnel

New Delhi: Vice-President Hamid Ansari has expressed grief over the death of 10 army personnel in an avalanche on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I am deeply grieved to learn about the fatal avalanche in the Siachen involving 10 of our army personnel,” the Vice President Ansari said in a statement.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the bereaved families of the brave soldiers and officer of the Indian Army,” he said.

The avalanche in Siachen. PTIThe avalanche in Siachen. PTI

The avalanche in Siachen. PTI

The 10 personnel, including an officer, were buried under a mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche on Wednesday at a high-altitude post on Siachen Glacier. The personnel were attached to Madras regiment.

Extending condolences to the bereaved families, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Dalbir Singh, ordered deployment of additional resources, including radars to reinforce rescue efforts, an official said.

Army and IAF had taken part in efforts to rescue the soldiers, who were trapped under snow after their post was hit by the avalanche at an altitude of 19,000 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

PTI

‘Enough sources put in place’: India declines Pakistan’s offer for help in rescuing Army personnel from Siachen

New Delhi: Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh on Thursday declined his Pakistani counterpart’s offer for help in rescuing Indian soldiers buried under snow after an avalanche hit their post in Siachen Glacier, saying necessary resources have already been put in place.

Army sources said Pakistan’s DGMO Maj Gen Amir Riaz called up earlier in the day and offered help.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

They said such calls are routine whenever any incident happens near the border.

“During the conversation, he offered Pakistani help which was declined for now saying that enough resources have been put in place,” the sources siad.

Incidentally, the offer of help came over 30 hours after the incident.

Ten soldiers of an army post, located at an altitude of 19,600 feet, were hit by a massive avalanche in the early hours yesterday.

Rescue operations by specialized teams of the army and the air force continued for the second day today amid fears that they may be dead.

“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” Lt Gen DS Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command, said.

Snow cutters and specialised equipment were flown into Leh to further boost the rescue efforts.

The glaciated area experiences temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees during the day.

Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors.

“However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” an Army statement had said.

PTI