The T-72 tank with five soldiers on board sank due to flash floods while they were crossing the river, the officials said

Five soldiers of the Army are feared drowned after being swept away while crossing a river in a T-72 tank near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Nyoma-Chushul area in Ladakh early Saturday, officials told PTI.

“On 28 Jun 2024 night, while de-inducting from a military training activity, an army tank got struck in the Shyok River, near Saser Brangsa, Eastern Ladakh due to sudden increase in the water level. Rescue teams rushed to the location, however, due to high current and water levels, the rescue mission didn't succeed and the tank crew lost their lives. Indian Army regrets loss of five brave personnel while being operationally deployed in Eastern Ladakh. Rescue operations are underway,” the Indian Army said in a statement on X.

Last year, nine soldiers including a JCO lost their lives when an army truck they were travelling in, veered off the road and plunged into a deep gorge near Kiari in Leh district.

The Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a standoff in Ladakh since May 2020 and a full resolution of the border row has not yet been achieved though the two sides have disengaged from a number of friction points.

In January this year, army chief General Manoj Pande said the army is ready to deal with any challenge in the northern border (China).

“The army is ready and capable of dealing with any situation along the northern borders (with China). We have taken several concrete measures to develop our capabilities in those areas," General Pande had said.

The army chief had said the situation along LAC in the Ladakh sector was “stable, yet sensitive.”

External affairs minister S Jaishankar recently said that the NDA government's focus in its third term will be to resolve pending issues with China along the LAC.

“In the case of China, our focus will the situation on the border – there are still some issues pending and how we can resolve them,” he had said.

(With Agency Inputs)