Supplying Our Troops

According to a September 15 report by PTI, from heating appliances and climate appropriate clothing to rations, fuel and tents that protect from the biting cold, all necessary supplies have reached the forward areas for the Indian Army to gear up for the long, freezing winter in Ladakh region, officials asserted amid the tensions on the Line of Actual Control. The Ladakh region witnesses sub-zero temperatures and is mostly cut off from the rest of the country for months during the winters. Accordingly the Army has been beefing up its stocks of food, ammunition, fuel and more importantly the winter gear.

​Advance Winter Stocking

Major General Arvind Kapoor, Chief of Staff of the Fire and Fury Corps -- also known as the XIV Corps which has the mandate of securing the frontiers along the China and Pakistan borders from Kargil to Ladakh -- said the unit takes pride in its advance winter stocking. Our stocking levels, be it rations, fuel, oils and lubricants, tentage and heating appliances which includes Bukhari (heaters) or kero-heaters, or be it ammunition, are in good numbers," Kapoor told reporters. The corps also operates one of the highest altitude fuel, oil and lubricants depot. We supply fuel both for our vehicles as also for our men, for the Bukharis to keep them warm in the bitterly cold weather on the frontline, said Brigadier Rakesh Manocha, in-charge of the logistics.

​Sustaining Minus 20 Degrees

On tentage, officials said the indigenously developed Arctic tents can sustain temperatures up to minus 20 degrees, while the high-altitude tents have the capacity to sustain temperatures anywhere between minus 40 to minus 50 degrees. Both tentages and adequate winter clothing have also been supplied to the forward areas, an official said. The ration too has been stocked adequately, ranging from pre-cooked, packaged and canned items to food grains, they added. Brigadier A S Rathore said, "we hold complete requirements of supplies for all troops which are deployed in the Ladakh sector. All warehouses are completely full to the brim."

​Military Logistics

According to a September 28 report by PTI, in its biggest military logistics operation in decades, the Army rushed tanks, heavy weaponry, and ammunition to high-altitude areas in eastern Ladakh to maintain its combat readiness through the treacherous winter of around four months, military sources said. A significant number of T-90 and T-72 tanks, artillery guns and infantry combat vehicles were flown into various sensitive areas including Chushul and Demchock sectors as part of the logistics operation, sources said. To deal with any Chinese misadventure, India has also deployed over three additional Army divisions in eastern Ladakh where the temperature fluctuates between minus five to minus 25 degrees Celsius from October to January.

​Psychologically Ready

A September PTI report quotes Indian Army's Northern Command source saying that altitudes in Ladakh range from "high to super-high altitude" and there is a lot of snowfall, up to 40 feet after November. "Coupled with this, the temperature dipping down to minus 30 to 40 degree Celsius 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 ready," he said.

​Russian Help

As reported in June by ET, India’s largest defence supplier Russia has pledged urgent delivery of weapons, ammunition and missiles that India asked for during the recent visit to Moscow by defence minister Rajnath Singh. A detailed list has been shared by India for several dozen requirements that would cost in excess of $1 billion and a commitment was received from Russia of delivery within weeks.