As the six-month-old military standoff in Ladakh enters winter and soldiers brace for extended deployment in freezing conditions, the Army has created temporary accommodation for troops just behind the Line of Actual Control, including tents with heating.
An Army officer said Wednesday that “in order to ensure operational efficiency of troops deployed in winters, Army has completed establishment of habitat facilities for all troops deployed in the sector”.
India has around 50,000 troops in the region to mirror the Chinese deployment. At such high altitude, the weather is an additional challenge for the troops to remain combat-ready.
“Apart from the smart camps with integrated facilities which have been built over the years, state-of-the-art habitat with integrated arrangements for electricity, water, heating facilities, health and hygiene have been created,” the officer said.
“Troops on the frontline are accommodated in heated tents as per tactical considerations of their deployment,” he said, adding that “adequate civil infrastructure has also been identified”.
Parts of the region experience close to 40 feet of snowfall starting December. “Coupled with the wind chill factor, temperatures dip to minus 30-40 degrees Celsius, and road access is also affected,” the officer said.
Another Army source said the habitat can accommodate “the complete strength deployed in eastern Ladakh”.
The source said four commands of the Indian Army — northern, western, eastern and central commands — are authorised to have Extreme Climate Clothing and Equipment, needed largely for high and very high altitude (8,000-18,000 feet) and Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment, that needed mainly for super high altitude (above 18,000 feet). Much of this clothing equipment is imported. Over 10,000 extreme cold weather clothing system kits were acquired from the US in September.
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