The move comes along with the Indian Army’s increased focus on boosting its surveillance capabilities in the area amid tensions with China

An upgraded 1960s’ vintage air-defence gun to take on hostile UAVs, new ultralight howitzers, sets of new mortars along with modified Bofors guns—amid heightened tensions with China at the Line of Actual Control, India has substantially enhanced its firepower at the undefined borders here.

This comes along with the Indian Army’s increased focus on boosting its surveillance capabilities at the LAC, including deploying a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles as well as indigenous and modern technology for added vigilance at the borders, and a huge focus on developing infrastructure such as roads, bridges, airbases, tunnels and habitat in this region.

For instance, the upgraded L-70 air-defence guns have been placed close to the LAC to take on any enemy drones or helicopters or even aircraft flying at a low range. The guns were upgraded and deployed at the LAC earlier this year.

As per Army officers, the 1960s’ vintage air-defence guns, which have been the mainstay of gun systems with Army Air Defence, have been upgraded indigenously to turn them into modern equipment with enhanced target acquisition and automatic target tracking capability under all weather conditions. They now have high-resolution electro-optical sensors comprising daylight television cameras, thermal imaging cameras, laser rangefinders and muzzle velocity radars for enhancing the accuracy of fire.

Captain Sariya Abbasi of the Army Air Defence said the legacy equipment has been transformed into a sophisticated air-defence weapon system to counter all contemporary air threats.

“The new upgraded L-70 guns are comparable to all modern gun systems available in the world,” she said.

The guns are backed by the Flycatcher radar system.

The border tussle between the Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh exploded on May 5 last year after a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas. Following that, both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by bringing in thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry. Several rounds of talks have failed to make much headway.

Defence sources told that nearly 300 guns were being upgraded by government-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the process was nearly complete.

Similarly, the Swedish 155 mm Bofors guns—inducted into the Indian Army’s Regiment of Artillery in the mid-1980s—continue to remain deployed in the depth areas near the LAC here.

Army officers here say the guns deployed have been upgraded with the Shakti system, which is an integrated fire-control system.

Additionally, three regiments of the modern M777 ultralight howitzers have been deployed at the LAC. A fourth regiment of the ULH is also likely to be deployed soon in the region. They are meant for mountainous terrains and weigh approximately 4,200 kg each. It is expected that the Army will get all the 145 howitzers by the end of this year.

The equipment have been deployed at the forward locations of Tawang, which is one of India’s most heavily defended regions in the eastern sector.

The Indian Army has deployed a heavy density of troops in the region, at an altitude of above 15,000 ft, who continue to stay put at the LAC with temperatures already dipping to -3 degrees Celsius, which goes down to -25 degrees Celsius as winter approaches.