Indian soldiers have a huge experience of winter warfare, said Indian Army’s Northern Command on Wednesday, adding the troops are psychologically tuned to operate at a short notice. The comment comes on the back of bursts of bullets fired into the air last week on the northern bank of Pangong Tso amid a protracted stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
It may be stated that retired Indian army generals and defence analysts anticipate a long haul and a hot winter in the eastern Ladakh this year.
“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 issue of borders with China in Eastern Ladakh, at military level it is well prepared for the prolonged stand-off,” said Northern Command’s defence spokesperson Lt Col Abhinav Navneet.
“Altitudes in Ladakh range from high to super high and there is a lot of snowfall, after the month of November up to 40 feet of snow is experienced. Coupled with this, temperature dipping down to minus 30 to 40 degrees 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 a short notice. While this fact is known to the world, the operational logistics capabilities are hardly known,” he added.
Col Navneet also rebuked Global Times media reports that India’s operational logistics were not geared up adequately and will not be able to fight through winters effectively.
“This can best be attributed to their ignorance. Indian Army is fully prepared and more than capable of fighting a full-fledged war even in winters in eastern Ladakh,” he asserted.
The spokesperson further said that logistic capability relates to mobility, habitat and billeting, quality services from health, special rations, repair and recovery, heating systems, high quality weapons, ammunition, quality clothing, and so on.
“While much of this capability 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.
It is important to understand that the Army has experience of Siachen where conditions are much more demanding than the frontiers with China.
Traditionally, there were two routes for moving into Ladakh, that is through Zojila and Rohtang Passes.
Recently, India commissioned the third road from Darcha to Leh which is much shorter distance wise and less prone to closure. Completion of Atal tunnel on the Rohtang route has force multiplied the logistic capacities.
“In addition, we have a large number of air bases 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.
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. 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,” said the spokesman.
“Compared to Indian troops that are battle hardened physically and psychologically, Chinese troops are mostly from urban areas and not used to hardships or prolonged deployment under field conditions. 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, rested and psychologically hardened Indian troops. These worries have been percolating in the minds of Chinese troops and are visible in the Chinese media,” he concluded.