Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday launched 'Soul of Steel' Alpine Challenge to promote tourism in border areas. The Defence Minister launched a website for volunteers to sign up for various adventure activities under this joint initiative of the Indian Army and CLAW Global, a veterans' organisation.
'Road to the End', a 460-km long car rally was also flagged off by Rajnath Singh as part of a joint expedition by Indian Army and CLAW. The rally will reach its destination in the Garhwal Himalayas near Niti Village in Chamoli district in the next three days.
CLAW, a team of Indian Special Forces veterans with multiple specialisations in mountaineering, skydiving, SCUBA diving, unarmed combat, multi-terrain survival tech, and emergency medical response will spearhead the challenge.
While the challenge combines skills from military-style high altitude operations and alpine adventure sports, it is supported by the Indian Army. Indian Army through 9(I) Mtn Bde has signed a MoU with CLAW Global for joint execution of Soul of Steel and Human Ability Biome.
National and International participants campaign was launched on Saturday and the challenge will start from March and will continue till June. Soul of Steel is a unique blend of specialised skills including high altitude mountaineering, extreme cold survival, psychological endurance and physical toughness.
The challenge opens the domain of niche military skills to an average youth who wishes to challenge his physical and psychological limits. Participants will be selected through a detailed screening and training model through traditional and modern standards.
During the course of the programme, they will be trained to operate beyond the assumed limits of their body, to discover the limitless realms of their mind, consciousness and spirit. The project aims to train prospective athletes who wish to compete in this 'first of its kind' international challenge.
While the Soul of Steel participants will get trained to face anything that the life can throw at them - be it the everyday stresses of the corporate jungle or survival out in the wilderness, the military veterans will get a sound platform to showcase their niche skills and monetise them in their second inning which at present is a great challenge but above all this activity will create a model through which the great tourism potential of the remote and desolate areas of Himalayan region and of the local hardy people will be harnessed to arrest the migration of the locals towards bigger cities from the small border villages.
To equip them with specialist skills including mountaineering and survival skills, advanced medical skills, self-defence techniques, physical fitness, psychological resilience and endurance, to a standard that will stay with them through their life and form the backbone of a healthy, productive and evolved society, a Human Ability Biome will be created in High Altitude Area of Garhwal Himalayas.