1. Indian Army is prepared for war in
Ladakh during winter even in subzero
A bilateral peace agreement was signed by the External Affairs Minister of India and Foreign Minister of China in a recent meeting. However, this signing did not ease Beijing’s aggression at the India-China border.
The violence between the two countries is likely to last longer. The temperature in Ladakh plunges 30 to 40 degrees below zero during winter. The first week of winter itself records about 30 to 40 feet of snowfall. Severe chilly winds make matters worse for the soldiers. Roads also get closed, troops are forced to fight the brutal weather conditions besides fighting the enemies.
It is truly commendable that the Indian army is prepared to fight China even is such a harsh winter temperature.
China’s official media, Global Times, reported that the Indian army will not be able to fight the harsh winter effectively because India’s operational logistics are inadequate. However, Indian troops have claimed that they are more than capable of fighting a full-fledged war even during winter in eastern Ladakh.
An army marches on its stomach. It is indispensable to meet the administrative needs (Operational logistic capability) of these troops adequately for them to combat effectively. Their administrative needs include good mobility, habitat such as arctic tents, quality health services, special rations, quality repair and recovery, centralized heating systems, high-quality weapons, ammunition, high altitude mountaineering clothes (ECC resistant), water facilities and so on. These are made available to the army much before the transportation closes down.
Indian army has good experience of warfare in high to super-high altitudes even in harsh winter conditions. Indian troops have been deployed in severe weather conditions of Ladakh and Kargil for many years and are fully trained to survive the winter and post-winter phases in such regions.
2.Various accomplishments and experience of the Indian army
A. India is very fortunate to have two routes to enter Ladakh – through Srinagar-Kargil-Leh and Himachal Pradesh-Leh route. Modern snow clearing equipment has been placed to keep these routes open beyond November. This will facilitate access to these routes for 1-2 more months.
B. In response to China’s deployment of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian army has also deployed another division of troops amid border row with China. The operational logistic capability for these troops has also been provided for adequately.
C. Essential winter supplies such as extreme cold climate clothing and high-nutrient diet have also been procured for the soldiers in the high-altitude region.
D. Underground fuel dumps with vast quantities of high-grade fuel and kerosene have been arranged. Underground bore wells to provide clean drinking water have also been built. Water points have been developed to meet water requirements of the troops in places where digging bore wells was not possible. Experienced geologists of the Indian army have explored underground water resources and met the water requirements not only of the army but also for the Ladakh locals.
E. Arctic tents and portable cabins have been arranged for their habitat needs. These habitats have a heating mechanism to avoid the extreme cold by utilising the most advanced techniques.
F. Indian army is fully prepared in terms of troop requirements and associated arms, ammunition, and equipment required for winter deployment all along the LAC.
3. Indian army’s modern
Indian army provides the best healthcare in the world to the soldiers. Indian army has shown an exemplary performance as compared to the Chinese army to fight the coronavirus. Other countries can learn a lot from the Indian army about combat measures required to fight a war with China. Underground hospital, providing quality healthcare to the injured soldiers have also been erected. Groups of surgeons have been deployed to provide immediate surgical attention to the injured soldiers on the front. We have huge experience in this regard.
4. Inefficiency of the Chinese army
Due to difficulty in coping with the temperature in eastern Ladakh, the Chinese troops carry oxygen cylinders with them. As compared to the Indian troops, the Chinese troops coming from the urban areas are not battle-hardened for prolonged deployment in such severe weather conditions. China’s official media, Global Times, reported that waging a war under such severe conditions cannot resolve the border-conflict issues or benefit either of the two countries in any way. Concerns of the Chinese army are evident through their media reports. They are preparing to retract from war and their hardships are likely to rise during this period. Despite the situation, Indian troops are fully prepared for a war against China. If China decides to fight India, they will incur serious losses that they have never experienced before in their history.
Indian Army one step ahead of
China in terms of defence in Ladakh
4A. With Indian troops stationed on hills, it is difficult for China to attack : First, the Indian army captured several high hills and deployed troops there. In the past, when Chinese troops were encroaching, they used to come onto the road and try to enter the Indian border. They never wanted to go to any of the mountains. Now the Indian Army has taken a very good step. With troops stationed on the peaks of all places in the region, China would have to attack India with a huge army if war breaks out because when the Indian army is at the top of a mountain, the invading Chinese army will have to bring 15 to 20 times more than Indian troops. If the war is to be won, the soldiers have to conquer the territory by attacking the soldiers of enemy country.
Some pro-Chinese activists in the Indian media have been spreading rumours that China has seized a few thousand kilometres of territory. China has never captured such a large part. Their roads were within 2-3 kms. of the Pengong Tso Lake and the Galvan Valley. Right now they have come inside a road; however, they can no longer control any part of it because now the Indian army has been deployed on the hills along that road.
4B. India’s upper hand on China : Another important development is that in Ladakh we are strengthening roads, updating ‘Landing Grounds’, ‘Helicopter Landing Grounds’. India has opened a new road on this border. As a result, there are two ways to deliver groceries and military equipment to the Indian Army. A road reaches Leh via Srinagar to Kargil; however, the road is closed for 5-6 months due to snowfall. Another new road runs along the Himachal side, reaching Leh via Manali or Khardung. This road used to be closed for 5-6 months due to snowfall. Due to the construction of tunnels by the Government, this road can now run for 8-9 months. Also, 2 more tunnels are being constructed there. So this road will be open all year round. Therefore, China cannot invade this road. It can be said that India is one step ahead in terms of fighting China.
– (Retd.) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan