Scaling world's highest battlefield Siachen Glacier: Government accords sanction to lead a team with disabilities

Scaling world’s highest battlefield Siachen Glacier
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Scaling world’s highest battlefield Siachen Glacier: Government accords sanction to lead a team with disabilities 

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Government of India has accorded sanction to Team CLAW to lead a team of people with disabilities to scale World’s highest battlefield Siachen Glacier and create a new world record.

Government of India has accorded sanction to Team CLAW to lead a team of people with disabilities to scale World's highest battlefield Siachen Glacier and create a new world record.

C.L.A.W (Conquer. Land. Air. Water), a global initiative by Indian Special Forces veterans led by Major Vivek Jacob, is focused on cutting edge research, rehabilitation, and re-skilling of persons with disabilities. CLAW is creating extensive eco-systems tailored to generate new employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and retiring armed forces veterans at scale in the national and global arena.

"The global initiative aims to bring persons with disabilities and former Special Forces veterans in action- to drive inner transformation and induce powerful global action for inclusion" said Major. Vivek Jacob, Founder of Operation Blue Freedom. It aims to mainstream the mindset that Special Forces and people with disabilities share i.e. to -Survive, Stabilize and Thrive in hostile environments.

Initially, a team of 20 people with disabilities will be selected to undergo training and acclimatisation. These 20 people shall undergo all the three stages of acclimatisation and training at Leh (Stage 1), Siachen Base Camp (Stage 2) and North Pullu (Stage 3). After the conclusion of the three stages of acclimatisation and training, the final expedition team shall be selected, subject to the logistical bandwidth of the Siachen Base Camp and intermediate camps between Base Camp and Kumar Post. Tentatively, a minimum of 6 people with disabilities shall be part of the final expedition team who will trek from Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post.

The idea was conceptualised in November 2019. According to Major Arun Prakash Ambathy (retd) of CLAW Global, when he along with his team started training people with disabilities across the country, the intent was to apply the skill sets which the men of Special Forces possess.

"So what we realised is that we can teach adventure sports to the youth like mountaineering, scuba diving and skydiving. Then we thought that adventure sports have more utility for people with disabilities as it has therapeutic benefits. We also witnessed that while training them for scuba diving a lot of them experienced physiological and psychological improvements so then we got into adaptive scuba diving and therapeutic scuba diving and adaptive adventure sports," Maj Ambathy told The Hans India. The team initially faced a financial crunch.

"We never had money so whatever money we had from retirement savings and pension we pumped in. Initially nobody understood the relevance of it. So some provided us with vehicles and some gave us scuba sets but constantly we were falling short of resources. We wanted to institutionalise it. That's why we conceptualized the world record thing in November 2019. We have been pursuing this with Army HQ for over a year and half," he added.

CLAW is primarily looking at amputees and people who are visually impaired. "A panel of experts who will screen the participants medically. They will screen them for their endurance," he added.

The team of people with disabilities shall be a composite team consisting of disabled Serving Officers and Other Ranks from the Indian Armed Forces, Veterans with disabilities, people with disabilities from Kashmir and Ladakh region as part of 'Op Sadhbhavna', and Civilians with disabilities (Including 02 Women with disabilities disabilities.

A specialist panel of doctors will screen the participants at Delhi before the launch of the expedition. They will be assessed for their disability, vitals and a battery of clinical tests to check their suitability of inducting into high altitude terrain ranging up-to 16,000 ft. The final ascent team selected after the three stages of acclimatisation shall undergo a second round of medicals at 403 Fd Hosp at Hunder or at Siachen Base Camp just before the start of the expedition from Siachen Base Camp to Kumar.

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