New Delhi: After multiple failed efforts to de-escalate border tensions between India and China, the Indian Army is now gearing up to fight the cold weather as it started making arrangements for winter deployment of troops and equipment. According to reports, both countries have at least 50,000 troops each that are backed by tanks, artillery and air defence vehicles along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Also Read - 'Statement Was Twisted’: After Admitting Role in Pulwama Attack, Pak Minister Seeks Good Relation With India
Given that winter is already setting in at the high-altitude regions of Ladakh, both Armies have come down to occupy their regions from a lower height. Also Read - China Asks US to Walk With it Instead of Continuing Provocations
On the Indian side, the Army had deployed T-90 and T-72 tanks along with BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicles which can operate at temperatures up to minus 40 degree Celsius in Chumar-Demchok area in Eastern Ladakh. Also Read - Yikes! Doctor Removes 20 Live Worms From 60-Year-Old Chinese Man’s Eyelid
“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. Maintenance of tanks, infantry combat vehicles and heavy guns is a challenge in this terrain. To ensure crew and equipment readiness, adequate arrangements are in place for both man and machine,” Major General Arvind Kapoor noted while speaking to news agency ANI.
According to sources in the Indian Army, China has now started constructing military positions in at least 13 new locations along its border with India. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops are laying a network of optical fibre cables along the disputed area on the south bank of Pangong Tso as they prepare for the long haul in eastern Ladakh.
Earlier this month, a government official said optical fibre cables were spotted that would provide Chinese forward troops with secure lines of “high-speed” communication to bases in the rear. Government authorities have already been alerted of the development.
They have also doubled its air bases, heliports and defence positions near India’s Doklam border in Sikkim, touching China and Bhutan.
Earlier on Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the India-China standoff was here to stay and “we need to have trust in our armed forces and their ability to secure our interests”.
There is also a need to have trust in the ability of the system — both military commanders and the diplomatic channels — in negotiating with the Chinese, he said.
Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held talks on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet in Moscow on September 10 where they reached a five-point agreement to completely defuse the situation in eastern Ladakh and return the troops to their original positions.
The agreement was the basis for the sixth round of Corps commander-level talks held on Monday that aimed at ending the tense face-off by measures like avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.