The Army has worked on a war-footing to erect heated shelters, bunkers and arctic tents as well as acquire specialized winter clothing, gear and other essential supplies for its over 50,000 troops deployed at the “friction points” with China in eastern Ladakh as well as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where temperatures have already dipped to minus 20 degree celsius.
“Up to 40-feet of snow falls in some areas there after November. Coupled with the wind chill factor, the temperatures will dip to minus 30-40 degree celsius. Road access also gets affected for a brief period of time,” said a senior officer on Wednesday.
“In addition to the ‘smart’ camps built over the years, additional state-of-the-art habitats with integrated arrangements for electricity, water, heating, health and hygiene facilities have now been created to ensure the operational efficiency of the additional troops deployed there. The soldiers on the frontline, in turn, now have heated tents,” he added.
The Army has gone in for emergency supplies under multiple contracts inked with both domestic and foreign companies for specialized clothing and equipment for its soldiers deployed at heights over 15,000-feet, which includes snow goggles, layered gloves and socks as well as ‘down’ jackets, trousers and sleeping bags, as was reported by TOI earlier.
India has also acquired 15,000 ECWCS (extended cold weather clothing system) sets from the US under the bilateral Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) inked in 2016.
With India’s military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh into its seventh month now, over 50,000 soldiers each from the two armies, backed by howitzers, tanks and surface-to-air missile systems, remain deployed there.
India and China had “broadly agreed” to pull-back troops, tanks, howitzers and armored vehicles from the “friction points” in the Pangong Tso-Chushul area in eastern Ladakh. But the “exact modalities and sequencing of steps” as well as the joint verification process for the proposed disengagement plan is yet to be mutually finalized.