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The Chumik operation

The Chumik operation

The Chumik operation

Chumik operation

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One of the major disputes between India and Pakistan took place in April 1984 on the Siachen glacier in the Himalayas, which lies on the Line of Control between the two countries. The conflict began when the India Army airlifted trained soldiers into strategic positions over-looking key passes in a spur of the Karakoram Mountains called the the Baltoro Range, which flanked the Siachen Glacier from the South. This set in to motion the high-altitude military struggle between the two nations, that continues on to this day. Both armies have fought one another in areas which at some points reached altitudes over 6000 metres, in the struggle to possess a largely uninhabited wedge-shaped territory just south of the Chinese border, about 2,500 square kilometres in size.

Chumik is a minor sub-sector of Bilafond sub-sector, which has remained quiet since 1984 with the exception of Chumik Operation in 1989. Forwarded posts of the sub sector overlook Gyong Glacier and also provide observational vantage points of the enemy’s Baniya Base. A Pakistani post was established in the what is the present Sher post in 1985. The post later had to be withdrawn following heavy losses due to avalanches and enemy artillery fire the same year. However, the post was re-established in 1988 by the 9 Northern Light Infantry on the order of Commander Force Command Northern Area. In the early spring of 1989, there signals were indicating enemy

activity in the area were intercepted. Subsequently, on 22 February of the same year, enemy helicopters conducted reconnaissance in the area which was followed by inaccurate artillery fire.

As a result a, the Pakistan Army carried out its own reconnaissance mission via helicopters and discovered that the enemy had established five new posts in the area. The Indian Army had also occupied off-shoots of the highest peak in the area, which after this operation came to be known as the Naveed Top. This provided the enemy with the capacity to easily observe the Pakistan Army’s entire sub-sector. The Indian Army used this used this vantage point to engage Pakistan Army’s forward post, Asghar Base, thereby initiating the escalation in the conflict that would follow.

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The Enemy

Indian troops had intruded into the Chumik area and occupied it, with a complete battalion supported by different calibers of artillery and a Lama Helicopter. The enemy established bases, Ganga with one platoon, Sadhu with one platoon, Agra-I with one section, Agra-II with one Section as well as an artillery observer and MG Position with one section as well as a heavy machine gun. The bases were backed up by one company of support troops on standby and guided by the administrative bases of Bniya and Rani.

The Plan

At the time company minus ex 9 Azad Kashmir was holding Chumik sub-sector, which was later supported by another company for the offensive role. Helicopters were also provided for the operation, along with Special Services Group (SSG) troops and additional 81 millimeter Mortars. The Pakistan Army had planned to occupy the area to monitor any further movement by enemy. The area was to be occupied by engaging the Ganga Base with artillery fire that would prompt its troops to move towards the Line of Control.

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The mission began with the establishment of two bases Kausar 1 on 17 April at a height of 17,000 feet and in the same evening Kausar 2 was also established. However, it was later discovered that movement thereafter was not possible due to extremely difficult terrain. Therefore, the expedition was immediately called off to avoid detection by the enemy. The Pakistan Army then decided to deploy SSG troops via helicopter, however the helicopter could not hover at such a level from which the troops may be able to disembark, due to extremely poor weather and the way the ground was configured. This mission was also aborted as a result.

After failure of two missions, the plan was modified. On 19 April 1989 , the first helicopter took off. Ex 9 Azad Kashmir volunteer officer Lieutenant Naveed, as sling drooped at the Saddle. Subsequently SSG Naik Yaqoob was also dropped to join Lieutenant Naveed. However, soon the weather deteriorated making further drops impossible and it was not until 21 April, when weather cleared, that more persons were dropped. What followed was a race between Pakistan and Indian troops to reach the top of the Kamran Top. Pakistan

emerged victorious in reaching the top and so began the highest battle that has ever been fought in the world. Eight Indian soldiers were discovered about 400 meters from Kamran Top who were forced to withdraw under fire.

On 30 April 1989 , a raiding party consisting of 11 persons including 4 officers was organised by Major Abdul Rehman Bilal. The party closed in on the enemy with a machine gun and opened catching the Indian troops by surprise. However, the enemy soon retaliated with small arms and rocket fire, which did little damage as the Kamran Top was protected by a boulder. The raiding party continued to inflict heavy damage them to withdraw from the area and call from a meeting, where almost all of the Pakistan Army’s terms were accepted. The area was then vacated and declared a demilitarised zone.

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