When a huge avalanche hit the world’s highest battleground, trapping 140 Pakistani soldiers and civilian contractors under deep snow, some accused India by saying that it was not a natural avalanche but a Laser Beam Experiment done by India. According to them, India was experimenting with laser technology for a long time to bring avalanches, and this time India became successful. While others said because of heavy deposits of carbon on glaciated ice and increased absorption of solar radiation, an unexpected avalanche happened.
A Laser Beam Experiment of R&AW and DRDO or a conspiracy theory is known by the codename Operation whitewash, which involves the use of the Indian KALI project to melt down the sloping ice to bring avalanches; What was Operation Whitewash? was it a Joint operation of DRDO and R&AW? or something else, learn in this article.
Gayari Sector Avalanche
On the morning of 7 April 2012, a huge avalanche hit a Pakistani military base in Gayari Sector near the Siachen Glacier region, trapping 140 soldiers and civilian contractors under deep snow. Siachen Glacier region is the world’s highest battleground. On 29 May 2012, the Pakistani military declared that 129 soldiers were martyred and 11 civilians were killed; however, according to unofficial data, 130 Pakistani soldiers were martyred. This was the worst avalanche the Pakistani army had ever experienced.
This event soon became the top headline in the Pakistani media, and some news channels accused India of saying that it was not a natural avalanche but a Laser Beam Experiment done by India. According to them, India was experimenting with laser technology for a long time to bring avalanches, and this time India became successful. While some others said, “heavy deposits of carbon on glaciated ice and increased absorption of solar radiation is believed to be the main cause of an unexpected avalanche in the Gayari sector of the Siachen area.”
According to Pakistan Meteorological Department data, transboundary pollution in the Siachen area caused heavy coats of carbon on glacier ice that triggered the rise of temperature, and due to more absorption of Solar Radiation in the Gayari sector, glacier ice melted and caused an Avalanche.
However, there were no Indian troops within 15 km of either the avalanche site or the avalanche source basin, and no part of the Siachen Glacier itself is within 30 km of the avalanche site, separated from the Siachen system by the 5000 to 7500-meter-high Saltoro Ridge.
A non-governmental organization study revealed poor waste collection by Indian armed forces, almost entirely located in the Siachen Glacier basin, who produce 1000 kilograms of waste a day that is packed in drums; these drums waste are thrown in crevasses(a deep open crack, especially one in a glacier), at the rate of about 4000 drums a year. However, the avalanche site is 15 km west of any part of the Siachen basin, near the Gayari River just below the Bilafond La, neither of which flows from or connects with the Siachen Glacier system.
Know more about Gayari Sector avalanche – Wikipedia contributors. (2019, November 11). 2012 Gayari Sector avalanche. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:36, January 13, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2012_Gayari_Sector_avalanche&oldid=925631583
What was Operation Whitewash, and How did the name Crop up?
According to some unofficial sources and conspiracy theorists, Gayari Sector Avalanche was not a natural avalanche but a Laser Beam Experiment, Jointly conducted by DRDO and R&AW. It was a highly confidential operation known by the codename “Operation whitewash,” which involves the use of the Indian KALI project to melt the sloping ice to cause avalanches that look natural, and from here, the name “Operation Whitewash” cropped up.
However, there are no reliable or official sources available for this operation, or Indian officials do not want to open the details of this mission to the public domain.
- DRDO: Defense Research and Development Organization. It is an agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development in the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India, charged with the military’s research and development, headquartered in Delhi, India.
- R&AW: Research and Analysis Wing. It is the foreign intelligence agency of India. The agency’s primary function is gathering foreign intelligence, counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, advising Indian policymakers, and advancing India’s foreign strategic interests; headquartered in Delhi, India.
- KALI: The KALI means Kilo Ampere Linear Injector. It is a linear electron accelerator developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). It is a Directed-energy weapon designed to work so that if an enemy missile is launched towards India, it will quickly emit powerful pulses of Relativistic electron beam, destroy the target thoroughly, and damage the onboard electronic systems. According to unofficial sources, it is supposedly already operational from a hidden location or was tested in Operation Whitewash. Still, officially it has not been battle-tested yet due to a lack of such situations that would force India to acknowledge its operational existence publicly. However, on 14 July 2018, Parliament asked the government whether there was any proposal to induct KALI 5000 into the armed forces. Former Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar replied in writing to the Lok Sabha that “The desired information is sensitive in nature and its disclosure is not in the interest of national security” The Government also refused to give any information about testing the KALI laser weapon.
Operation Whitewash According to the Conspiracy Theory
According to the Conspiracy Theory, It started in 2009 when Jawahar Tunnel was closed due to heavy snowfall. This tunnel connects the Kashmir valley to the rest parts of India. To ensure no accidents, the Border Roads Organization(BRO) is tasked to clear the snow as soon as possible. To make work fast, DRDO’s Laser Science and Technology Center(LASTEC) was also called.
BRO and LASTEC were removing the snow together with the help of a giant artillery gun called “KALI”(Kilo Ampere Linear Injector) by bringing small avalanches. Conspiracy theorists state that the idea for testing the KALI laser weapon for the military was coined from here by a senior RA&W officer. This KALI laser weapon was several times more powerful than the KALI gun being used in the Jawahar tunnel.
Officials decided to test this weapon in the Siachen glaciers for that, an observation team, scientists, and RA&W were sent to the Siachen Post of the Indian Army. They were given high-altitude training. Theorists state everything was done as per the plan, and afternoon time was chosen for this operation because most of the natural Avalanche in Siachen arrive at noon, But because this operation was to be done from the air platform, many technical problems like polarization and high-precision shooting were coming up. To solve this issue, officials took the help of the Bhabha Atomic Research Center’s scientists.
Scientists studied the project and suggested the morning or evening for this operation. For this operation, Il-76 planes equipped with KALI, an airborne warning, and control system of the Indian Air Force, and an Il-78 plane for refilling were used. Mirage and Sukhoi fighter jets were also used for warlike situations. Satellite data and 3D terrain visualization technology were also used.
In the early morning of April 7, the IL-76 plane started laser shooting at 100% precision at trigger points from a height of 30,000ft, and at around 5:40 in the morning, the avalanche had started at Pakistan’s Northern Light Infantry headquarters, which had a speed of 300km/hr.
Pakistan Army tried to alert its army personnel, but thousands of tons of snow falling at a speed of 300km/hr did not give them any chance. In about 10 to 15 minutes, the entire headquarter of the Pakistan Army was buried under 80 to 100 feet of thick snow. It was a massive avalanche that not only snapped the communication lines but also blasted away some outposts.
According to the Pakistani Army, 124 of his soldiers were killed in it, but according to the Indian Army, more than 130 soldiers of the Pakistani Army were killed in it. According to the Pakistan Army, a layer of 80 feet thick ice had accumulated above the Northern Light Infantry headquarters.
Since the success of Operation Whitewash, DRDO has developed a small compact model of KALI for the Indian Army, which the Indian Army can use in any war situation. Research and development are still going on KALI(Kilo Ampere Linear Injector), a linear electron accelerator by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
The Gayari Sector avalanche was major destruction for Pakistan’s Northern Light Infantry headquarters in Siachen, which Pakistan will never forget. If Operation Whitewash is not a conspiracy but a highly confidential and secret then operation, then it was a great success for scientists and officers from DRDO, SAS, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, R&AW, and the Indian Military.
However, on 14 July 2018, Parliament asked the government whether there is any proposal to induct KALI 5000 in the armed forces, then former Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar replied in writing to the Lok Sabha that “The desired information is sensitive in nature and its disclosure is not in the interest of national security” Government also refused to give any information of testing KALI laser weapon.
- “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Accessed 10 October 2020.https://web.archive.org/web/20141011175924/http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Siachen-Pakistan-declares-buried-troops-dead-after-52-days/Article1-862824.aspx
- Amitav, M. (2012). High Power Lasers–Directed Energy Weapons: Impact on Defence and Security (PDF). Defense Research and Development Organisation, Ministry of Defence.
- R. (2016, December 23). Told and Untold operations of the Indian Military. Indian Defence Forum. https://defenceforumindia.com/threads/told-and-untold-operations-of-indian-military.77558/
- Bharat Rakshak. (n.d.). Possible Indian Military Scenarios – XII – Page 59 – Bharat Rakshak. Https://Forums.Bharat-Rakshak.Com/. Retrieved January 2, 2020, from https://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?t=4287&start=2320#p1267522
- S. (2009, February 24). Jammu-Kashmir Highway closed due to fresh snowfall. Oneindia News.
- A., & N. (2012, April 22). Indian military activities finally resulted in the Siachen tragedy. The News International. https://www.thenews.com.pk/archive/print/357905-indian-military-activities-finally-resulted-in-siachen-tragedy
- Pakistan Meteorological Department
- Discussion in ‘Indian Defence Forum'(https://defence.pk/pdf/forums/indian-defence-forum.52/) started by Rangila(https://defence.pk/pdf/members/rangila.145044/), Jun 28, 2015. “When a terrifying new weapon was born”(https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/when-a-terrifying-new-weapon-was-born.383172/). Accessed 09 January 2020.
- Indian KALI project. Accessed 09 January 2020.
- What was the “operation whitewash“(https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-operation-whitewash-by-RAW) by RAW? Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- Pandit, R. (2020, September 14). DRDO plans Star Wars-style weapons for battles of the future. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/drdo-plans-star-wars-style-weapons-for-battles-of-future/articleshow/78096712.cms
- P. (2018, July 14). The government refuses information on KALI 5000, citing national security. The Economic Times. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/government-refuses-information-on-kali-5000-citing-national-security/articleshow/50234073.cms
- Sharma, A. (2021, September 12). Operation Whitewash. Military Fiction. http://amit21mechmilfiction.blogspot.com/2013/07/operation-whitewash-india-blowsback.html