Colonel Narendra ‘Bull’ Kumar (retired), who made a significant contribution to the security of our country by paving the way for India’s move to the Siachen Glacier, died on Thursday – the last day of 2020.
Born in Rawalpindi – now Pakistan – in 1933, the mountaineering legend led an Indian army expedition to the Siachin Glacier in April 1984. Preventive mobilization helped then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launch Operation Meghdoot.
“I went on this expedition and from there I climbed all these high passes. Every time we went, Pakistanis would come and fly over us. I smoked there. We were unarmed and we were quite scared, “Col Kumar said in a previous interview.
Little did Pakistani forces know then that the troop led by Colonel Narendra Kumar was to pave the way for a full occupation of Saltoro – the area that stretches alongside the Siachen Glacier.
Strategically, whoever controls the Saltoro chain controls Siachen – the crucial strip of land that India occupies between Pakistan and the West and China, further east.
Colonel Kumar skied all the steps, dominated by the Indian army, which led to the glacier and established the highest and most inhospitable battlefield in the world.
A few years earlier, in 1978, he climbed the third highest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga, in its northeastern spur – an attempt that had not been made in 45 years.
He also led expeditions to nine other peaks in the Himalayas above 24,000 feet.
Colonel Narendra Kumar, fondly known as “Bull”, was cremated today in the Brar Square of the Army in Delhi. He was 87 years old.
In mountaineering circles in India, the year 2020 will always be remembered as the one in which the country lost a legend.