Tuesday, 2 April 2013

10-member SSB team set-off on maiden Everest expedition

Murukesh Krishnan

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), India’s paramilitary force that guards the Indo-Nepal and Bhutan borders, today set-off to conquer Mount Everest by sending a 10-member squad, the first for a military force in India. The SSB, established in 1963, is celebrating its golden jubilee this year.

The climbers are equipped with state-of-the-art mountaineering gadgets and have been training extensively over the past few months at domestic peaks across the country. The team, led by Squad Commander and SSB Commandant Somit Joshi, will be scaling from the Nepalese side of the mountain and are expected to reach the summit by mid-May.

Union Home Secretary RK Singh flagged off the event at New Delhi amidst huge fanfare and wished the contingent luck for their conquest. SSB Chief Arun Chaudhary was also present on the occasion. He claimed that the sole motive of this expedition was to bring in a spirit of adventure amongst paramilitary personnel. The team will hoist the national flag at the peak.

It was, however, the second attempt on Mt. Everest by an Indian military force as a 23-member team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) scaled the Everest last year on May 19, by skiing down the summit from the Chinese side.