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Opinion

Siachen lessons give India an edge

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The Indian Army’s decades-long experience in high-altitude warfare, particularly the lessons learned in Siachen, gives Indian soldiers who have inhospitable and rugged heights in eastern Ladakh a tremendous advantage to prevent the People’s Liberation Army ( EPL) upset the status quo. on the sensitive stage that has been at the center of border tensions between India and China for nearly eight months, officials familiar with the mountain warfare said on Saturday.

The Indian Army has an advantage over the PLA as the latter lacks combat experience in high altitude warfare and has not permanently deployed troops to extreme heights the way India has to secure its borders further. far away, said one of the officials cited above, asking not to be called.

With military and diplomatic talks to reduce tensions along the controversial Royal Line of Control (LAC) stalled, India and China are poised for a long haul in the eastern Ladakh theater, where rival troops maintain soaring heights, including deployments at an altitude of nearly 20,000 feet. in the mountains near Pangong Tso.

The Indian army has honed its mountain warfare exercises for decades and its soldiers possess the tenacity and stamina to overcome the toughest challenges posed by extreme altitudes, a second official said.

Aside from the tough physical and mental makeup of the soldiers, the Indian Army’s demonstrated ability to support front-line military operations with superior logistics, advancements in altitude medicine, critical understanding of mountain acclimatization and air support are factors that put the army in an advantageous situation. position in eastern Ladakh, experts said.

“Conditions in Siachen are infinitely more challenging than in eastern Ladakh. The lessons learned in terms of survival, medical care, protection against cold injuries and avalanche rescue will be of great help, ”said former Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. DS Hooda (retd).

Helicopter pilots from the army and air force are the livelihood of the troops deployed in Siachen. “These pilots are very familiar with high-altitude operations and their role in supporting troops in eastern Ladakh will be a great advantage for us,” added Hooda.

In eastern Ladakh, Indian soldiers are occupying positions at an elevation of almost 20,000 feet in the Finger area on the north shore of Pangong Tso.

The IAF has decades of experience in air maintenance in high-altitude areas — altitudes of more than 15,000 feet — and there are standard operating procedures to serve as templates for both helicopters and transport aircraft, said Vice Air Marshal. Manmohan Bahadur (retd), Additional Director General of the Center for Aerial Energy Studies, commenting on the IAF’s role in supporting troops deployed to the Ladakh sector. “Flying in hills is complicated and each helipad in the mountains has its own peculiarities. We have a bank of crews with experience in this type of operation. The crew is backed by a dedicated band of technicians who continually work to keep helicopters and transport aircraft in flight condition, ”Bahadur said.

India is determined to maintain forward positions in Ladakh until the PLA withdraws and restores the status quo ante in early April. With no solution for the border line in sight, the Indian Army has completed creating a modern habitat for thousands of soldiers deployed to advanced areas to deal with any PLA misadventures.

Temperatures in some places where the Indian Army is stationed can drop to minus -40 degrees Celsius.

At the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on November 26, in the context of the persistent stalemate in LAC, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that India would not allow the PLA to take any unilateral action on the disputed border and that the The government had given full freedom to its armed forces. forces to defy, with all their might, any attempt to change the situation in LAC in any way.

The Chinese military is grappling with the difficulties of mobilizing and deploying tens of thousands of troops during the harsh winter, something it has not done in the past, officials previously told HT.

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