China and India are digging in, and preparing for a long winter in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both neighbors are in a prolonged faceoff along the disputed LAC in the Ladakh Valley.
The report comes as the two nations are said to be quietly working on a “mutual withdrawal deal” from Ladakh heights.:
Situated some 13,000 feet above sea level in the desolate Himalayan plains, the temperatures have already dropped well below zero degrees Celsius and it will only get colder. It is the world’s highest desert—so while snow may not be an issue exactly, it is simply the extreme cold that could take its toll on the soldiers on both sides of the LAC, The National Interest reports.
Another report says top officers of the Indian Army are expected to review India’s combat readiness in Ladakh as well as other sensitive areas along the LAC border with China at a four-day brainstorming session beginning Monday. “It comes as India is faced with the possibility of simultaneously dealing with China and Pakistan along its western and northern borders”.
The US is said to be closely monitoring the border row between China and India and does not want the situation to escalate.
Our situation report (SitRep):
- Indian Army (IA) has bigger log challenges than the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). Communication infrastructure on Chinese side is more developed than India, thus forcing it to rely on very costly C-17 Globemaster III and C-130J-30 Super Hercules of IAF.
- IA has also been bringing in arctic tents that can accommodate three to five soldiers along with other prefabricated insulated huts, which have been sourced locally. Unlike the Chinese versions that feature large generators, the habitats used by India are equipped with kerosene-fueled heaters.
- IA is making the LAC an absolute priority, and high altitude clothing and mountaineering equipment are being purchased and shipped from Europe—again at astronomical costs.
- Both sides have fielded armored vehicles. IA has deployed T72 and T80 tanks along with BMP-2 IFVs that run on a special fuel mix designed specifically for the high altitudes and low temperatures.
- China on its part has been preparing for Ladakh for long and deployed specially designed T-15 and T 99 MBTs.
- PLA units are also being equipped with prefabricated thermal shelters, which were developed by the Army Engineering University. Such facilities have been used across the Tibetan plateau and surrounding mountain regions for well over two years. These include dormitories, washrooms, toilets, warehouses and of course heating equipment. It can operate in temperatures up to minus 55 degrees Celsius and maintain an indoor temperature of an almost comfortable 15 degrees Celsius.