Indian Army fully geared to fight full-fledged war in eastern Ladakh: Northern Command
Jammu: Asserting that it is fully prepared to fight a full-fledged war even in winters in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army on Wednesday said if China created conditions for war, they will face a better trained, better prepared, fully rested and psychologically hardened Indian troops.
In a statement, it said compared to physically and psychologically battle-hardened Indian troops, Chinese troops mostly are from urban areas and not used to hardships or prolonged deployment under field conditions.
The Army’ Northern Command headquarters made these assertions reacting to China’s official media ‘Global Times’ reports that India’s operational logistics is not geared up adequately and it will not be able to fight through winters effectively.
“This can best be attributed to ignorance. Indian Army is fully prepared and more than capable of fighting a full-fledged war even in winters in eastern Ladakh,” a Northern Command spokesperson said here.
“India is a peace-loving country and wishes to have good relations with its neighbours. India always prefers to resolve issues through dialogue. While talks are in progress to resolve the border issues with China in eastern Ladakh, at the military level it is well prepared for the prolonged stand-off,” he said.
He said altitudes in Ladakh range from “high to super-high altitude” and there is a lot of snowfall – up to 40 feet after November.
“Coupled with this, the temperature dipping down to minus 30 to 40 degree Celsius is a usual phenomenon. Wind chill factor makes matters even worse for the troops. The roads also get closed due to the snow. But despite all this, the most encouraging part for India is that the Indian soldiers have a huge experience of winter warfare and are psychologically tuned to operate at short notice,” the spokesperson said.
While these facts are known to the world, he said, adding the operational logistics capabilities, however, are hardly known.
“Logistic capability relates to mobility, habitat and billeting, quality services for health, special rations, repair and recovery, heating systems, high-quality weapons, ammunition, quality clothing, and so on. While much of these capabilities existed earlier and troops could simply plug and play, a lot has also been boosted since May this year when China showed first signs of aggression,” he said.
The spokesperson said it is important to understand that the Army has the experience of Siachen, the highest battleground in the world, where conditions are much more demanding than the frontiers with China.
“Traditionally there were two routes for moving into Ladakh, that is through Zojila (Srinagar-Leh Highway) and Rohtang Passes (Manali-Leh). Recently India commissioned a third road from Darcha to Leh which is much shorter distance-wise and less prone to closure,” he said.
The spokesperson said completion of Atal tunnel on the Rohtang route has force multiplied the logistic capacities.
“In addition, we have a large number of airbases with the help of which we can maintain the Army well. Modern snow-clearing equipment has also been placed on these routes to keep them open beyond November, thus giving us more time for daily maintenance of the troops,” he said.
The spokesperson said special fuel and lubricants for tanks and armoured personnel carriers have also been stocked adequately, including spares for their maintenance.
“Water points and tube wells have been established for the troops and animals like mules and yaks. The living barracks have also been prepared which are comfortable and warm,” he said.
He said facilities such as the central heating system are some of the high points of these facilities.
“Ammunition of various types including small arms, missiles and tank and artillery ammunition have also been adequately stocked. The medical system is also in place for any eventuality.”
The spokesperson said “China’s concept has always been to win the wars without fighting, hence if they create conditions for war, they will come across better trained, better prepared, fully rested and psychologically hardened Indian troops.
“These worries have been percolating in the minds of Chinese troops and are visible in Chinese media,” he said.
‘PLA troops fired warning shots at north bank of Pangong lake’
New Delhi: The Chinese army fired a barrage of “warning shots” in the air at the North Bank of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh last week to “intimidate” the Indian troops ahead of the talks between foreign ministers of the two countries in Moscow, official sources said on Wednesday.
The incident took place on the ridgeline of Finger 4 where the Indian Army has been significantly increasing its deployment after occupying several strategic peaks on the southern bank of the lake, they said.
The sources said a sizeable number of troops from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aggressively approached towards an Indian position but they returned sometime later as alert Indian Army personnel held on to their ground with firmness.
While going back, the Chinese troops fired 100-200 rounds of warning shots primarily to intimidate the Indian Army personnel, they added.
The incident took place ahead of a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi last Thursday on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conclave in Moscow.
The first incident of firing of shots was reported on the evening of September 07 near an Indian position in Mukhpari area of Rezang-La ridgeline on the southern bank of Pangong lake. Both sides accused each other of firing in the air.
The Chinese troops unsuccessfully attempted to close in on the Indian position and it was the first instance of shots being fired at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 45 years.
At the Jaishankar-Wang talks, both sides reached a five-point consensus to resolve the over four-month-long border standoff.
The agreement included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.
Meanwhile, both sides are yet to firm up a date for the sixth round of Corps commander-level talks.