In India climbing is a government institution. The Indian Army, through the Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF), oversees several mountaineering institutes around India. These institutes provide students with equipment, training, and regularly run expeditions for top students and instructors.
While these expeditions include some of India's most talented climbers in siege style ascents. Because of the military and colonial roots of South Asian mountaineering training, climbing in India is siege style. Today, India's two most volatile borders with China and Pakistan are drawn over some of the world's highest mountains. Most of the participants in IMF courses are military personnel. Though the IMF does not teach mountain warfare specifically, the movement of people and supplies through technical terrain is essential to expedition climbing.
For non-military students, expedition training gives them valuable skills necessary to make a comfortable living working for the many foreign and domestic expeditions to the Himalaya.
Obviously Indian climbers harbor a wide variety of opinions and dreams. However, the Indian climbing community, like the American climbing community is shaped not by an inherent impulse toward fast and light climbing, but by local, historical, social, and political conditions. To assume a natural evolution towards fast and light climbing continues the paternal and racist legacy of early Himalayan climbing that assumed European superiority. This was a tradition that rarely allowed South Asian climbers the possibility of being more than backwards and exotic coolies.
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