The man who safeguarded Siachen for India, Colonel Narendra Bull Kumar passed away today at Army research and referral hospital at the age of 87. Colonel Kumar was one among the first officers to land on glacier as a part of the mountaineering expedition, he was instrumental in convincing India’s military/ political leadership about the strategic importance of the Siachen glacier.
Kumar’s observations during his multiple visits to the glacier as a mountaineer which were published in the Illustrated Weekly of India in 1983, were the first public acknowledgement of the developing situation along the freezing heights at the Siachen heights. It was his maps and videos that helped the Indian army to launch Operation Meghdoot in 1984 to secure the heights and prevent any possible misadventure from Pakistan’s side.
Colonel Kumar was awarded the Padma Shri in 1965, the fourth highest civilian award. The Army honoured him by decorating him with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) distinction in all three services, an honour at the rank of a colonel. He was also decorated with Kirti Chakra and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. The Siachen Battalion HQ at the glacier base camp has been named ‘Kumar base’ in his honour.