Colonel Narinder ‘Bull’ Kumar (Retd.), instrumental in the Army launching Operation Meghdoot and securing the dominating heights of Siachen Glacier in 1984, died at the Army’s Research and Referral (R&R) hospital here on Thursday. He was 87 and was suffering from age-related issues.
“First to report on Pakistani mischief in Siachen sending patrol and mountaineering expeditions to the Glacier area. India was thus able to pre-empt Pakistani attempts to occupy Saltoro Range… Salute!,” said former Army Chief Gen. VP Malik on twitter.
Col. Kumar was commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun in the Kumaon Regiment in 1953. A reluctant mountaineer, he was the first Indian to climb Mt. Nanda Devi. He climbed Mt. Everest in 1965, Mt. Blanc (the highest peak in the Alps) and later Mt. Kanchenjunga from the toughest North East spur. ‘He climbed all these peaks despite losing four toes due to frostbite in earlier expeditions’, an Army officer said. In 1981, as a member of the Antarctica Task Force he played a significant role, he said.
Col. Kumar was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 1965. He was decorated with Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Kirti Chakra and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM). He is also a recipient of the MacGregor Medal awarded to armed forces personnel for valuable military reconnaissance. The battalion headquarters on the glacier located close to an altitude of 16,000 feet is named “Kumar post” in his honour.