NEW DELHI: The Indian military has declined Pakistan Army’s offer to help rescue 10 Indian soldiers buried under snow after an avalanche hit their post on the Siachen Glacier.

Sources in Indian army said on Thursday that Pakistan’s Director General of Military Operations Maj Gen Amir Riaz called his Indian counterpart earlier in the day and offered help. But India’s DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh declined the offer and said necessary resources had already been put in place. “During the conversation, he (Gen Riaz) offered Pakistani help which was declined for now, saying that enough resources have been put in place,” the sources said.

The ten soldiers were hit by an avalanche when they were manning a post located at an altitude of 19,600 feet in the early hours of Wednesday. Rescue operations by specialised teams of the army and the air force continued for the second day on Thursday amid fears that the soldiers might be dead, the sources added.

“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” Lt Gen D.S. Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command, said.

Rescue teams were braving adverse weather conditions to locate and rescue any survivors.

“However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” an army statement said.

By arrangement with the Times of India

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2016

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