With an elevation of more than 7,816 meters, Nanda Devi is one of the highest peaks in Uttarakhand as well as in India. The beauty of the majestic peak attracts trekkers and backpackers from around the world. However, there is something more about the Himalayan peak than meets the eye.
It is believed that on October 1965, United States’ CIA and India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) joined hands in a secret mission to install a nuclear-powered sensing device on the summit of Nanda Devi to keep a tab on China’s military might. India’s loss to China three years ago and growing tensions between Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc prompted agencies to undertake this daring mission.
In the effort to install the surveillance device, and then retrieve it, nearly a dozen ascents were made from 1965-68 on Nanda Devi. In 1966, when the team reached the summit to retrieve the plutonium-powered surveillance device, they found the device was missing. The plutonium capsules, with a longevity of over a hundred years, could still be buried somewhere in the snow.
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