Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

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Article by Prof. Nüsser & Dr. Baghel in Political Geography

The journal Political Geography published the article "Securing the heights: The vertical dimension of the Siachen conflict between India and Pakistan in the Eastern Karakoram" (PDF) by Prof. Marcus Nüsser (Head of Department of Geography) and Dr. Ravi Baghel (Research Associate, Department of Geography).  

The Siachen conflict between India and Pakistan is often referred to as the coldest war, or, the endless war atop the roof of the world. The high altitude and extreme climate create a hostile environment that has caused by far the most casualties and imposed tremendous costs on both sides. This environmental setting is usually only cited to underline the absurdity of this more than 30 year old conflict. We, however, argue that rather than being a constraint upon the conflict, the terrain itself is central to the genesis and continuation of the conflict. Further, the vertical dimension is the focus of contestation and the site where mountaineering practices, cartographic imagination and military logic intersect. The inaccessibility imposed by the terrain also implies that far from being a frozen conflict there is a temporal dynamism, as improvements in technology and logistics alter the possibility of maintaining the status quo.
18 Jun 2015
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