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Ladakh standoff: Indian army, PLA gear up winter confrontation at LAC

Sept. 28, 2020, 5:06 p.m.

Leh (Ladakh): With no end in sight to the military confrontation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China, both the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are gearing up to face the freezing Himalayan chill of the Ladakh winter.

As the winter approaches, the Indian Army is digging in at the dominant heights it had captured from the PLA recently at the Finger 4 area in the Pangong Tso sector.

While the Indian Army has managed to wrest the advantage from the PLA at Finger 4 by capturing the dominant heights, the Chinese soldiers are present at the lower heights in this area.

At an altitude of 14,500 feet above sea level, this it is the world’s highest battlefield after the Siachen glacier.

The Indian army is all set to face the PLA amid the harsh winter and is equipping soldiers with new thermal shelters and specialised winter clothing.

The Indian Army is preparing to continue the confrontation into the harsh winter months and deployed T-90 and T-72 tanks along with BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicles near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Chumar-Demchok area in eastern Ladakh on Sunday.  

These combat vehicles can operate at temperatures up to minus 40 degrees Celsius and are expected to give a tough fight to the PLA in case the Chinese decide to take on the Indian Army in combat.

News agency ANI quoted Major General Arvind Kapoor, Chief of Staff,14 Corps as saying that the Indian Army is prepared for all eventualities and the morale of the Indian troops is extremely high. 

The Major General, who commands the 14 Corps, also known as the ‘Fire and Fury Corps’, asserted that the Indian Army is stocking up on rations and ammunition ahead of the winter.

“Winters in Ladakh is going to be harsh. We’re absolutely in control as far as advanced winter stocking and forward winter stocking is concerned. High calorific and nutritious ration, fuel and oil, winter clothing and heating appliances are all available in adequate numbers,” Major General Arvind Kapoor said.

“The ‘Fire and Fury Corps’ is the only formation of the Indian Army and also in the world to have actually deployed mechanised forces in such harsh terrain. The maintenance of tanks, infantry combat vehicles and heavy guns is a challenge in this terrain,” he pointed out.

“Adequate training with provision of special winter clothing will ensure troops’ morale remains high and they are ready to function in short notice. Along with this, training and honing of crew skills and drills will remain constant through the winters. The Indian Army in Eastern Ladakh is logistically well prepared.”

The core of engineers of the Indian Army’s  said that they are using the latest technology which will make the atmosphere survivable.

“This shelter is custom-made, is fast erectable and has containerized shelters which can be placed quickly. These shelters are prefabricated and hence, the use of cement and sand is minimum,” an officer said.

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