NEW DELHI: The Army now wants 20 new avalanche rescue radars on a fast-track basis from abroad to ensure it can quickly locate soldiers who get buried under snow during natural calamities in high-altitude areas along the borders with China and Pakistan.

The tender or RFP (request for proposal) for the emergency procurement of the 20 avalanche rescue radars, along with 3,000 hand-held detectors and other accessories, specifies the Army wants the deliveries to be completed within 12 months of signing contract or before August 31 next year, whichever is earlier.

The contract will include deliveries to the field ordnance depot at the Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur as well as training to some personnel of the High-Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) at Gulmarg.

The Army often suffers casualties due to its soldiers being deployed in large numbers in avalanche-prone areas along the unresolved borders with China and Pakistan, including eastern Ladakh and the Siachen Glacier.

"Avalanche-related casualties take place despite best efforts in training, equipment and forecasting. The new radars, with equipment capable of functioning at temperatures up to minus 50 degree celsius, will help in quickly initiating rescue efforts and pinpointing location of buried soldiers to help in maximizing their survival chances," said an officer.

Incidentally, over 1,000 Indian soldiers, including over 35 officers, have lost their lives in the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge region since April 1984, when India’s Operation Meghdhoot preempted Pakistan's Operation Ababeel to occupy almost all the dominating heights from 16,000 to 22,000-feet by a whisker.

Around three-fourths of these casualties have been caused by the severe terrain and climatic conditions in the Siachen region, with temperatures sometimes even dipping to minus 60 degree celsius, rather than enemy fire.

In February 2016, for instance, 10 ill-fated soldiers from the 19 Madras Regiment -- including Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad who miraculously survived for over eight days – had perished after being buried under a massive ice-wall avalanche in the northern Siachen Glacier.

Army officers say soldiers deployed in high-altitude regions are given prior training in mountain craft, ice craft, and survival in glaciated terrain to cope with any eventuality like avalanches, but sometimes it becomes impossible to fight nature.