Operation Meghdoot

India’s War in Siachen – 1984 to Present

Sanjay Badri-Maharaj

In 1984, the Indian Army carried out a stunning operation that captured the Siachen Glacier in the northernmost regions of what is now the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Date Published :
April 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
61 b/w photos, 4 color figures, 5 color profiles, 1 color & 3 b/w maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781914059308
Pages : 68
Dimensions : 11.5 X 8 inches
Stock Status : Available


In 1984, the Indian Army carried out a stunning operation that captured the Siachen Glacier in the northernmost regions of what is now the Union Territory of Ladakh.

Since that time, a full brigade of Indian troops has faced off against a similar number of Pakistani soldiers in the highest battlefield on earth. Sustained by a combination of tenuous road supply lines and air support, where helicopter manuals have had to be rewritten, the two countries have had numerous skirmishes that have escalated into the use of artillery fire.

Operation Meghdoot tells the story of this conflict. Beginning with the trauma of partition and the first Kashmir war that saw the region divided between India and Pakistan, it progresses to the 1962 Sino-Indian war which saw the Aksai Chin region lost to China and the Shaksgam Valley unilaterally ceded by Pakistan to China. The consequence of this was to allow the development of the Karakoram Pass and highway to link China to Pakistan.

In the aftermath of Pakistan’s defeat in the 1971 war, the mapping of the area created sufficient confusion to enable both India and Pakistan to assert their respective claims. This eventually led to Operation Meghdoot which enabled India to secure the entire Siachen glacier, pre-empting Pakistan’s Operation Abadeel.

Operation Meghdoot examines the political, geographic and geopolitical imperatives that drove both sides towards conflict in this inhospitable area. The evolution of India’s mountain divisions with their attendant expertise is discussed as well as the air support capabilities available to both sides. Operation Meghdoot itself is discussed in detail including its planning and execution, and the conflict since 1984 is chronicled with an emphasis upon the military engagements, the use of air power and the struggle of both armies to adapt and cope with the environment. Finally, the implications of India’s hold on the Siachen Glacier is analysed with respect to its position against a hostile Pakistan and an increasingly hostile China.

Operation Meghdoot includes 80 photos, 10 maps and diagrams, and 15 color profiles.

About The Author

Sanjay Badri-Maharaj from Trinidad, received his MA and PhD from the Department of War Studies, Kings College London. His thesis was on India’s Nuclear Weapons Program. He has written and published extensively, including two books – The Armageddon Factor: Nuclear Weapons in the India-Pakistan Context (2000) and Indian Nuclear Strategy: Confronting the Potential Nuclear Threat from both Pakistan and China (2018). He has served as a consultant to the Ministry of National Security in Trinidad and was a visiting International Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. This is his first instalment for Helion.


"A number of tabletop skirmishes can be gleaned from the text and the photos give you a good idea of the inhospitable terrain."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"...a great book where battling the conditions is as difficult if not more than combat in the mountains."

- ModelingMadness.Com

"This is a highly detailed read in such a slim volume, recommended for political, military and historical researchers, as well as model-makers."

- Scale Military Modelling

"…colour artwork plates of artillery pieces, soldiers, and helicopters, and a helpful colour map of the region, all add up to an informative book that readers of modern warfare will find rewarding."

- Wargames Illustrated

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