Since India occupied Siachen in 1984, about 1,000 soldiers have died on the glacier and as per official records, 220 of these were killed by enemy bullets. The rest died due to the extreme climate on the glacier.
But there may be some hope to prevent such deaths in the future, thanks to the Indian Space Research Organisation.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has come up with a unique material that could help soldiers survive even in Siachen's conditions.
A team at ISRO’s major research center, Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) has developed what they say is the “world’s lightest artificial material” called ‘silica aerogel’ that can be used as a thermal insulator while making clothing for soldiers.
How will this material help?
Silica aerogel is basically a solid foam consisting of over 95 per cent air and has the lowest bulk density of any known solid. Since it has more holes than other insulators, it conducts less heat. That's why it is incredibly light, and most importantly a great thermal insulator.
This material was first used by NASA to help insulate electronics on the Mars Exploration rovers.
A scientist who was part of the team that developed the gel said that the VSSC lab is in communication with the Indian Ordnance Factory that manufactures clothes for the soldiers.
They are now planning to pack in the ultra-light aerogel between layers of the soldiers' clothing to protect them from the freezing temperatures in Siachen. The gel will help prevent serious frost bites and keep a soldier's blood circulation going.
(With PTI Inputs)