The Siachen Glacier in India is now open for tourists, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said after inaugurating Col Chewang Rinchen Bridge in Ladakh. The Defence Minister accompanied by Army chief General Bipin Rawat. The strategically located bridge across the Shyok River will provide easy connectivity with the Daulat Beg Oldi sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
"Ladakh has tremendous potential in Tourism. Better connectivity in Ladakh would certainly bring tourists in large numbers. The Siachen area is now open for tourists and Tourism. From Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post, the entire area has been opened for Tourism purposes," Singh tweeted.
Delighted to dedicate to the nation the newly constructed ‘ Colonel Chewang Rinchen Bridge’ at Shyok River in Ladakh.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 21, 2019
This bridge has been completed in record time. It will not only provide all weather connectivity in the region but also be a strategic asset in the border areas pic.twitter.com/cwbeixGOCR
The bridge, which has been built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO), can accommodate vehicles of 70 tonnes class and is 4.5 metres wide. It has been named after a highly-decorated soldier of the Indian Army, Colonel Chewang Rinchen, who belonged to Ladakh.
"Delighted to dedicate to the nation the newly constructed ‘ Colonel Chewang Rinchen Bridge’ at Shyok River in Ladakh. This bridge has been completed in record time. It will not only provide all weather connectivity in the region but also be a strategic asset in the border areas," he added.
The Indian Army had been allowing expeditions to Siachen in the late 1970s till they came to a total stop in 1984.
The announcement regarding the opening up of Siachen for tourists assumes significance as it comes a few days ahead of Ladakh being declared a separate Union Territory on October 31.
In June this year, Rajnath Singh, accompanied by General Rawat, had visited Siachen and praised the "tenacious resolve and unstinting commitment" of the soldiers deployed in the region. He had undertaken an aerial reconnaissance of the Siachen Glacier and interacted with troops at one of the forward posts.