New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said his ministry was aware of the possible risk of avalanche at Siachen glacier but not of the exact spot where the snow slide struck killing ten soldiers earlier this month.
“We had the information about the risk of avalanche in Siachen glacier. However, this information was not meant for this particular place (where the disaster occurred),” Parrikar said while addressing media on the sidelines of ‘Make In India’ event in Mumbai.
Ten soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO) of Madras Regiment, were trapped under tonnes of snow after their post was hit by avalanche at the altitude of 19,000 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan on February 3.
While all of them were confirmed dead earlier, the rescuers found Lance Naik Hanmanthappa Koppad alive under snow after six days. However, he died on February 11.
“Still, I am personally monitoring each and every case relating to the battle casualty on monthly basis so as to ensure that the families of the victims get all the relief in time,” Parrikar said.
Replying to a query on the report of supply of F-16 planes by the US to Pakistan, the minister said, “Only a notification for the proposed supply of F-16 planes to Pakistan is issued by the US Congress. However, we have already raised an objection to the US’ move on the issue”.
India had already conveyed its “displeasure and disappointment” over the Obama administration’s decision to sell eight F-16 jets to Pakistan worth nearly USD 700 million.