Siachen, Africa & Combat Stories – Maj. Samar Toor On The Indian Infantry

What happened in Siachen? What is the mentality of an army veteran? And many more experiences shared by Major Samar Pal Singh.


We have done a bunch of conversations with Army veterans. With all due respect, their life is very chaotic. 

Major Samar Pal Singh Toor is a 3rd Generation Indian army officer. He has been commissioned in the Indian Army for many years.


He shared his experience of serving in Siachen, and Africa. He also shared his battlefield experience.


What Does An Army Career Teach You?

“An Army career helps you acclimatize to your surroundings even in the most uncomfortable situation. It makes you accept the situation in which you are. It prepares you to face situations outside your comfort zone. The mentality is shaping you to face all odds.”

\"\"Military Training

“We are trained to lay down our lives mentally and physically. I am ready to go into battle and accept the consequence. That is the level of patriotism we have, and this won’t go. It is like a positive virus imbibed into us.”


Maj. Samar Pal’s Experience In Siachen

“In Siachen, the environment is harsh. It was my first posting. That terrain pushes you beyond your mental will. It is difficult to breathe. You have to carry all the weapons. The temperature is minus. You have to fight these situations.”


“The moment I landed there, I realized I hadn’t experienced that cold weather. The temperature goes up to -30 degree celsius in Siachen.”


“Due to lack of oxygen, you can’t sleep properly. You don’t feel like eating. In normal conditions, half an hour would be enough to cook or boil the vegetables. There it used to take one hour to just come to its normal state. We had canned food there. For energy, we had chocolate, and we had ready-to-eat meals.”

\"\"“Siachen is a glacier. The reason it was taken into haste was it borders China and Pakistan. It is a tipping point where the distance between India and Afghanistan is the least. We could hear the blasting. We were aware of the satellites wandering over there. It is occupied all year long by soldiers. It is all compact ice there.”


“Ice can be of different densities. In some places, it would be soft ice, and in some places. It could be hard ice. The ice keeps shifting. We have to check with an ice axe before walking as the ice could suddenly shift, and anyone would die.”


Serving In Sudan

“Right after Siachen, I went to Sudan. I had a break of 6-7 months. But I was training at that time. We were to move in 2013. On the flight that we boarded in South Sudan, I was the nominated officer of my troop. We had to receive the mortal remains of Lieutenant Colonel Mahipal and four other soldiers. It was a goosebump kind of feeling. Collecting the mortal remains and side by side, my troop was lined up to board the same aircraft in which the coffins came. It is a big deal to be assigned by the UN to go on foreign soil to operate. But while boarding, our mindset changed.”


Problem In South Sudan

“There are two tribes there. One is the Dinka tribe and the Nuer tribe. All is well till they are together. But one day, when a failed military coup took place on the 6th of December around 600-700 Nuer were massacred. In military barracks, the troops went rogue. The soldiers turned onto themselves. The Nuers tried to regroup. We were careful, and eventually, on 19th December, there was an attack where around 3000 Nuer tribes took over a UN base. All were armed, and they shot 46 refugees, and many things went wrong.”


“The moment there was a touchdown in South Sudan, we got closer to our reality as we were moving to our bases. We knew there was no backup. The Nuer officials who were part of the government came in much later. They should have come in before then maybe the situation would have been under control. We had to be prepared all the time. 



“I learned life is unforgiving. It is all about survival of the fittest. We have to learn to live without fear. To overcome it, we have to face it.”


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