Captain Shiva Chauhan- First Woman Officer to be Posted at Siachen Glacier

Captain Shiva Chauhan is the first woman officer in the Indian Army to be assigned to a frontline station in the Siachen Glacier. The Siachen Glacier is the world’s highest battleground, with temperatures reaching -50°C. The Indian and Pakistani forces clashed in Siachen in 1984, when India took control of key peaks as part of Operation Meghdoot.

Chauhan is assigned to the Kumar Post in Siachen, which is located at an elevation of about 15,600 feet. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh praised Chauhan’s deployment, calling it “a positive indication” and extending his best wishes to her. Captain Shiva Chauhan is the Indian Army’s first female officer sent to the Siachen Glacier. She is originally from Rajasthan.

Chauhan is a member of the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers. The Corps is divided into three sections: Bombay Sappers, Bengal Sappers, and Madras Sappers. Chauhan is a member of the Bengal Sappers, also known as the Bengal Engineering Group (BEG). Chauhan attended education in Udaipur, Rajasthan. She graduated from the NJR Institute of Technology in Udaipur with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Chauhan’s father died when she was 11 years old, and her mother raised her. Chauhan was inspired to join the Indian armed services since infancy and demonstrated remarkable fervour while training at Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, before being commissioned into the Engineer Regiment in May 2021, according to PTI.

Significance of Chauhan’s Deployment

Captain Shiva Chauhan’s deployment to Siachen marks the first operational deployment of a female officer.

Chauhan was sent to the Kumar Post on Monday for a three-month assignment, according to Indian Army authorities quoted by PTI.

At roughly 20,000 feet in the Karakoram range, the Siachen glacier is recognised as the highest militarised zone in the world, with soldiers fighting frostbite and fierce winds.

“It was a proud moment for the Indian Army when Captain Shiva Chouhan became the first woman officer to be operationally deployed to the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen, after a month of hard training at Siachen Battle School with other soldiers,” the Indian Army said in a statement.

Officials claimed Chauhan went through rigorous training at the Siachen Battle School, where she trained alongside commanders and troops from the Indian Army. The training included endurance training, ice wall climbing, avalanche and crevasse rescue, and survival exercises.

Despite several hurdles, Captain Shiva finished the training with unwavering dedication and was ready to be inducted into the Siachen Glacier,” stated an official.

The Indian Army stated that the Sappers squad led by Chouhan would be responsible for several combat engineering duties and will be stationed at the location for three months.

“Breaking the Glass Ceiling,” claimed the Indian Army’s 14 Corps in a tweet. 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.”

“Excellent news!” remarked Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who shared the message. I am delighted to see more women joining the military forces and rising to every challenge. It is a promising indicator. Captain Shiva Chauhan, please accept my warmest wishes.”

What is Siachen Glacier? Why is it Important?

Siachen Glacier is located at the northernmost point of the India-Pakistan border and is not marked by any border markers.

It is not mentioned in either the Karachi Agreement of 1949 or the Shimla Agreement of 1972.

Both India and Pakistan have interpretations that claim rightful possession of the Siachen Glacier. India now controls the Siachen Glacier as a result of Operation Meghdoot.

In a paper for the think tank Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), Brigadier (Retired) Mandip Singh stated that controlling Saltoro Ridge is important for safeguarding the Kashmir and Ladakh areas.

“First and foremost, the Saltoro Ridge overlooks the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) that is in conflict with Pakistan,” he said. Second, it protects the roads leading to Leh, the main town and capital of Ladakh. Finally, it overlooks and controls the Shaksgam Valley, which Pakistan unjustly lost to China. Fourth, it is adjacent to the Karakoram Pass, via which the Karakoram Highway connects Gilgit-Baltistan to China’s Xinjiang Province.”

“Executed in the morning of 13 April 1984 at the highest battlefield in the globe, Meghdoot was the first military offensive of its sort,” a government document says of Operation Meghdoot. The operation successfully prevented Pakistan’s imminent Operation Ababeel (which had the same goal as Meghdoot) and resulted in Indian soldiers taking control of the whole Siachen Glacier.”