How are Indian troops preparing for fourth consecutive winter at LAC amid standoff with China?
It is the fourth year when the Indian Army is stationed in Eastern Ladakh to counter the Chinese transgression that started in May 2020.
The defence and foreign ministers of India met in New Delhi on Friday to discuss several issues including measures to boost security in the Indo-Pacific region.
The meeting took place at a time when the Indian troops are bracing for the fourth consecutive gruelling winter at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), after China's transgressions in Eastern Ladakh which took place in 2020.
China has deployed two divisions of troops backed by rocket and missile regiments. India has equal deployment of troops at the LAC. The situation at the LAC is stable.
How are Indian troops preparing for fourth consecutive winter at LAC?
The Eastern Ladakh LAC stretches from Karakoram Pass to Chumar and temperatures can go down to -40 degrees celsius. If the temperatures don't kill you, the winds will. The wind chill situation is so bad is that the tank barrels freeze, ammunition doesn't work and equipment does not function. It is a very horrible workplace as far as the Indian Army is concerned.
It is the fourth year when the Indian Army is stationed to counter the Chinese transgression that started in May 2020. The Indian Army is prepared for it but there is a need for de-escalation. The Chinese are still not willing to come to those terms.
The Indian Army, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the Indian Air Force have really upgraded the entire military infrastructure along the LAC. Initially, the Indian forces were pushed into countering the Chinese in May 2020. They are now prepared all along the 1597 km LAC, in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh as well as the Barahouti plains and Uttarakhand.
The Indian Army are in positions over Pangong Tso and positions dominating the Demchok and Chumar sectors, something which has never happened before. Twenty years ago, there was a situation when the Indian Army said we need to build roads. That situation has completely changed now. We have built roads, ammunition dumps, deployed troops at dominant positions along the LAC. Barring the weather and isolation of the place, the Indian Army is prepared to counter the PLA aggression which started four years ago.
How is India approaching the Bhutan-China border talks?
Bhutan and China have been in dialogue for some time to address the border issue. It intersects the Indian security concerns on the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, which essentially means the Doklam plateau. The Doklam plateau overlooks the Siliguri corridor which is very sensitive to India. The Chinese have been intruding into the Bhutanese territory, particularly along the Amuchu which is the river that becomes Teesta when it comes to India.
The intrusions are going to create a lot of problems for India. Bhutan being a small happy kingdom does not have the force to handle China because of the latter being a superlative military power. China has told Bhutan that it is willing to concede the border in northern Bhutan. It has asked for eastern Bhutan border in turn. If that happens, the Indian Army positions will become vulnerable. This tussle is going on between Bhutan and China.
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