- With winter approaching along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, China has sent its troops’ assemblable thermal shelters.
- India has also been preparing for a winter standoff conducting its biggest military logistics operations in decades.
- The border tensions between India and China are different from the past phases, with more troops and an increasing amount of hotspots.
It’s not just the Indian Army that’s readying itself for the harsh winter of the Himalayas along the India-China border in Ladakh, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as well. According to the Chinese state-run publication
Global Times, the troops stationed at the border were recently equipped with assemblable thermal shelters.
To counter China’s threat along the border, India conducted the most extensive military logistics operations in decades. Before the roads get snowed in, the Indian Army has been busy hauling in ranks, heavy weaponry, ammunition, fuel, food, and other essential winter supplies.
The situation at the border this year is very different with more troops and an increasing number of friction points where India and China are locked in a standoff.
India, alone, has deployed over three additional army divisions than usual in eastern Ladakh as winter rolls in.
China’s new thermal shelters
China’s new shelters have dorms for sleeping, canteens, washing rooms, toilets, warehouses, microgrids, and heating equipment that can function in temperatures as low as minus 55 degrees Celsius and altitudes up to 5,500 meters above sea level.
Even with sub-zero temperatures outdoors, the temperature inside the shelters can be maintained at above 15 degrees Celsius, according to a report by PLA Daily, the army’s publication. Diesel heaters ensure emergency heating, and over 90% of the shelter’s components can be reused.
However, PLA Daily asserts the new self-powered thermal insulation homes aren’t new. Border troops have been using them at several outposts across the plateau and alpine areas over the last two years.
India continues to build border roads
The Indian government is using the newly launched Atal Rohtang Tunnel to deploy armed forces and equipment faster than before. After a decade of digging, the world’s longest high-altitude tunnel reduces the distance between mainland and Ladakh — where India is facing off against China — by 46 kilometers.
“China does not recognize the so-called central territory of Ladakh illegally established by India. We also oppose the construction of infrastructure for the purpose of military control in the disputed border areas,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, a few days ahead of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opening the new tunnel.
The next round of military negotiations between India and China are scheduled to take place on October 12 on the Indian side of the border. Last time around, the two sides agreed to refrain from adding any more troops than were already deployed.