Why bathing may no longer be a ‘luxury’ for Indian soldiers deployed at the Siachen glacier - the world’s highest battlefield

Why bathing may no longer be a ‘luxury’ for Indian soldiers deployed at the Siachen glacier - the world’s highest battlefield

  • Indian soldiers deployed at Siachen glacier are likely to get home-grown waterless body hygiene products that will allow them to bathe.
  • Soldiers guarding India’s disputed border with China are deprived of bathing for as long as three months.
  • Soldiers serving at the glacier find it difficult to find water for personal use due to extreme weather conditions.
Life is inhospitable at the Siachen Glacier located at an altitude of some 13,000 to 22,000 feet in the northern reaches of the Himalayas. And for the soldiers posted there, the sub-zero temperatures and the treacherous terrain are the biggest mortal threats, with ordinary amenities like bathing something of a ‘luxury.’

Now waterless bathing products developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi are being dispatched to the soldiers. These products can reportedly be used even in extreme weather conditions of under 60 degrees centigrade, reported the Hindustan Times.

Water Scarcity remains one of the major challenges for soldiers who are located at checkpoints as high as 21,700 feet. Every soldier has to live without bathing for about three months of their stay. Other options like melting the ice aren’t feasible because it requires a lot of fuel.

The products have already been tested and ordered by a Kolkata-based Eastern Command that keeps a check on India’s disputed border with China.

At any given point of time, India deploys nearly 3,000 soldiers to serve at the Siachen glacier. In their three month stay at the glacier, they have to trek for nearly a month to watch out for enemy movement covering a stretch of 128 kms at some of the most distant points. Most of the checkpoints on the glacier are above 16,000 feet above sea level.

While the Eastern Command has already ordered thousands of products, other troops in high-altitude areas including Siachen are likely to get these products sooner.

With the latest waterless hygiene products, the soldiers will be able to bathe twice a week. In order to get a full body wash around 20 ml gel is sufficient, according to the report.

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