New Delhi, Sept 8 : The 27 member team of Indo-Sri Lankan mountaineering expedition reached High Altitude Warfare School at Sona Marg near Ladakh. Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General S.P.S. Dhillon, AVSM, VSM has flagged off first ever Indo- Sri Lankan joint mountaineering expedition today.
In a simple ceremony in Sena Bhawan Lt. Gen Dhillon was introduced to Sri Lankan delegation along with their Indian counterparts heading towards the adventurous expedition.
Their initial training in mountain climbing, snow craft and rock craft has started. Besides training, the team will also start their first stage of acclimatization from today.
The Indian Army has been pioneer in the field of mountaineering and in continuation with this glorious tradition and to enhance the cooperation between Indian Army and Sri Lankan Army, a mountaineering expedition is being launched to Mount Stok Kangri (20, 200 ft) in Leh region.
Mount Stok Kangri is part of Stok Kangri massif which is approx 20 kilometre south-east of Leh. It is the highest peak among the known peaks in the Stok kangri massif. Apart from being technically challenging, it offers a spectacular perspective of the central expanse of the Indus valley which it dominates. Other peaks in the areas include Gulap Kangri (19729 ft), Matho West (19650 ft) and Kantak (17410 ft).
The team is led by Lt. Colonel I. S. THAPA, SM, VSM and includes four officers, three JCOs and 12 other ranks of Indian Army and four officers and four other ranks of Sri Lankan Army. He is an experienced mountaineer who successfully led the Indian Army's Everest expedition in 2007.
Prior to the expedition, the team will undergo special training for 14 days at High Altitude Warfare School at Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir. Thereafter, the team will move to Leh for acclimatization. Base camp will be established at a height of 15,500 ft. Camp- I will be at 17,500 feet and weather permitting, the summit will be attempted on 19-20 October.
Addressing the team, Lt. Gen Dhillon expressed hope that this expedition will not only help both the armies learn from each other's varied experiences but would go a long way in strengthening the ties between both the nations. Indian Army in the past has organized similar expeditions with Australia, Nepal, USA, UK and Kazakhstan.
Major General S. K. Singh, Officiating Director General Military Training who was present during the ceremony also offered his best wishes to the team.