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Siachen Tragedy: Army weaknesses or limitations





Author: Usama Khan
Author Blog

When American SEALS took out Osama Bin Laden within the territories of Pakistan a blow
was struck to a nation which satisfactorily took pride in being a nuclear power
& having 6th largest military. A hard realisation dawned upon them that
their impenetrable  ‘Islamic Fort’ was not only penetrable but the
continuing avalanche of drone attacks would prove it more & more fragile.
That incident however didn’t budge my confidence in Pakistan’s army, simply because my
‘degree of confidence’ never revolves around fictional religious
mantra & I knew beforehand that my army doesn’t have a weakness though it
inherits natural limitations of a third world’s army.
The recent fatal Siachen tragedy & the not yet
successful army operation to recover missing soldiers made me rethink my
previous stance on Pakistan’s
army capabilities because this isn’t a limitation (as many will call it a
natural occurrence) but to me its a weakness!
I may be labelled as unfaithful to my country for calling my army incapable
but let us not be hasty. An army potency isn’t alone a measure of its fighting
capability but also includes executability for rescue & search operations.
Although glistening F-16s & JF-17s cruising high in the sky adequately fulfills
defending role but army seemingly fails to adopt contemporary technological
advancements to improve & hasten its rescuing capability. It is clear from
media footages that army till now has resorted to conventional means of digging
things up based on antiquated probability models established via conventional
pen & paper. There seems to be inconsistency between  defending role
& rescuing role of Pakistan’s
army. Former is receiving million dollar budget annually but the latter
unfortunately doesn’t seem to be on the updating list at all!
Army should realise that those mighty tanks & gigantic warplanes are
driven by human beings (~soldiers) so in a sense lifesaving is a more important
aspect than buying war machinery alone. Burning dollars upon dollars to buy,
maintain & build combat vehicles must not be prioritised over attaining
& (if possible) domestically producing relatively less complex & cheap
life-saving equipments. Being an engineer myself I will put up a list of
recommendations for senior geologists & army personnel to ponder upon:

·        
We have nuclear school of thought, we have
engineering universities why not establish institutions specifically for the
study of arctic conditions? This is the platform that will provide technical
solutions & may also supervise operations in subzero conditions.
·        
If you have played modern army games on your PC
or XBOX you will definitely remember how easy it is to track your comrades
using their personal beacons. These beacons emit radio waves at special
frequency & we are able to receive them, using their strength magnitude we
can roughly tell how far or near we are to our fellow soldier (try thinking it
as bluetooth signals). These beacons sadly weren’t made available to the
soldiers at Siachen. If one out of every four soldier was equipped with a
beacon (or more effective GPS transmitter) we would have a total of 31 beacons
(remember there were 124 soldiers) oozing out enough electromagnetic rays to
confine our search area, thereby, immensely increasing probability of finding
buried soldiers.
·        
Using an airborne or a land-based Ice
Penetrating Radar (IPR) more commonly known as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).
Technologies used in both of these equipments are thoroughly researched & a
quick google search shows that these equipments have many vendors. I have
skipped the underlying principles but if you are interested in learning how
these technologies work refer to following links:
o       
Basics of IPR
·        
Let us learn from the West that in hostile &
life threatening areas (be it because of terrorists or nature itself) using
robots can turn the tables. That is why I suggest solar-powered Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle (UAV) to patrol our arctic regions & if human presence is necessary
even then UAVs operating overhead can pinpoint exact location in case the
soldiers below suffers any misfortune incident. Now I will make myself clear
here, we don’t need expensive UAVs like Raptor or Global Hawk because we only
need surveillance therefore local universities/industries can be made to
compete in delivering the most economical package that meets following major requirements:
o       
Small size & portability
o       
Able to perform in subzero conditions
o       
Greatest amount of operational hours
Visit this link to see how a graduate student build his own
arctic UAV.

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