Indian troops gear up as Ladakh de-escalation with China unlikely soon

Indian troops deployed on the cold mountains along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) bordering China are being equipped with the latest and high-end gear to make them battle-ready | PTI File Photo

Indian troops deployed on the cold mountains along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) bordering China are being equipped with the latest and high-end gear to make them battle-ready.

Finnish Sako sniper rifles, Israeli Negev Light Machine Guns, indigenous K9 Vajra T guns, the M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH), the American Sig Sauer assault rifles and a variety of contemporary drones have been deployed at various posts along the LAC.

According to defence officials, the massive logistical exercise is on as India and China failed to resolve on further disengagement along the LAC after the latest round of military talks last week.

The talks are likely to continue but a thaw over the military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May last year could take time, according to a report in the News18.

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Both the countries are ramping up their troops and infrastructure along the LAC in order to consolidate positions.

As per reports, China has three infantry divisions, 6–8 combined arms brigades with close to 450 tanks and a similar number of artillery guns, besides short and medium range missiles on the other side of eastern Ladakh.

India too has built new roads and bridges, a number of helipads and habitat for additional troops in the region.

Also read: Failure of talks means tougher times for India-China ties

The Indian Army has deployed an additional 50,000–60,000 troops and reorganised its existing formations, especially the strike corps.

A strike corps from the desert sector has been sent to the northern sector and another to the north-east.

An additional division of counter-insurgency troops and additional infantry brigades have also been inducted.

According to sources, troops are also being rotated so that fresh troops are familiarised with the environment and its challenges. However, it is being seen to that a certain percentage of experienced troops are retained.

The ITBP is also planning to take in 10,000 additional troops in a phased manner, with 20% being recruited initially, and the rest over the next few years.

A K9 Vajra T Guns regiment and three M777 ULH regiments have been sent to eastern Ladakh. The troops on the border have been equipped with the American Sig Sauer assault rifles and Israeli Negev Light Machine Guns.

A dozen fast patrol boats and 17 special troop-carrying boats are also being delivered to Ladakh. Specialised drones have also been deployed for the troops to undertake surveillance and reconnaissance missions. By December end, four new Israeli Herons are likely to be delivered. A large number of counter drone systems will also be procured and deployed.

Also read: Issues remain, says Army after 13th round talks with China on Ladakh

The Indian Air Force also has operationalised its second Rafale squadron at Hasimara in July this year.

The Army is also procuring fibreglass huts, over a thousand living and store shelters, and hundreds of specialised tentage for its troops along the border.

It will also procure more than 10,000 sets of special clothing, boots, and 40,000 sets of extreme cold weather clothing. Snow-mobiles are another addition the troops will have.

The troops are being provided tonnes of rations, kerosene oil and special fuel oil, along with housing and clothing infrastructure to adapt to the extreme altitude and weather.

The ITBP has set up new warehouses in Ladakh to store more ration that is being supplied to its troops.

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