Amid standoff with China, India buying winter clothing from US, Europe for troops in Ladakh
New Delhi: Amid the standoff with China which has necessitated deployment of augmented army presence at the Line of Actual Control, India has gone for urgent purchase of additional high-altitude winter clothing from the US for troops deployed at forward locations in eastern Ladakh.
The winter clothing has been purchased under the Logistics Exchange Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA) between India and US. The agreement facilitates logistical support, supplies and services between the armed forces of the two countries, and includes clothing, food, lubricants, spare parts, medical services, among other essentials.
India is also looking to European markets to get more winter clothing for immediate requirements as its soldiers are braving temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius as they occupy 13 critical heights in south of Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
The seventh round of India-China military talks on October 12 at Chushul to resolve the border dispute in eastern Ladakh ended in deadlock, after around 11 hours of deliberations. The de-escalation of forces at the LAC during the winter is highly unlikely now and India has to set up a huge logistical arrangement.
On August 30, India occupied critical mountain heights like Rechin La, Rezang La, Mukpari, and Tabletop, that were unmanned till now, on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake. It also made some deployments near Blacktop also.
The deployment came after the Chinese tried to make a provocative military move. Now, dominance at these 13 peaks allows India to dominate Spangur Gap under Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side.
The Indian Army now has to stock up winter items for around 35,000 extra troops deployed at the forward locations. Most of the friction points in Ladakh like Pangong Lake and Galwan Valley where the face-offs have occurred are 15,000 feet above the sea level.
Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria had, earlier this month, stated that India sees China digging in for the winter along the disputed border, and that India is taking action based on the ground realities. (Agencies)