Ex-special forces officers training people with disabilities to scale Siachen glacier

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 4/5/2021 11:55:19 AM


New Delhi, Apr 04 A group of veterans from India’s special forces’ have come together in an attempt to create three world records — on land, air and underwater — with people with disabilities. The first attempt will be made in May this year on land when the team, led by former 9 Para officer Major Vivek Jacob, will climb the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen Glacier, with the largest team of people with disabilities (PWDs). The team, expected to be around 20 members strong, will include not just ex-servicemen but also serving soldiers and civilians. Following this, they plan to set a record for the largest team of PWDs doing accelerated free fall, in Dubai, and will later head to the Maldives where they will attempt scuba diving in the open sea. “Special Forces is an instinct, a mindset. You don’t become special just because you have worn a particular uniform and carry a rifle. It is all about state of mind,” Major Jacob said as he launched the participant campaign to select people with disabilities for the Siachen trek Saturday. About the range of disabilities the group can take on, the Major said for the Siachen trek, the group won’t choose those with spinal cord injuries. “There will be those who are blind or have lost their limbs. For scuba diving, we train even those with spinal cord injuries,” he said, showing a video of a man in a wheelchair doing scuba diving. For the underwater activity, CLAW aims to create a team of 50 while for the accelerated free fall attempt, it wants a team of around 10 members. Major Jacob set up the organisation of special forces’ veterans, called Conquer Land Air Water (CLAW). “There are close to 12 crore people with one or the other kind of disabilities. But we don’t see them often because they live within the challenges of our society. The idea is to give every disabled person [the opportunity] to do something that they want to do,” Major Arun Ambathy, former 5 Para, said. Major Ambathy, CLAW co-founder, said a chance meeting with an IAF officer, paralysed from his waist down, that inspired them to set up CLAW. “Major Jacob’s parachute malfunctioned during a combat skydive in 2015 and [he] suffered a spinal cord injury.

 

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