As New Delhi and Beijing brace for winter showdown along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, a review conducted by the Indian security establishment has found that sheltering troops in extreme cold and ensuring continued potable water supply were two issues that required greater attention.
A list of immediate essentials has been shared with the Army headquarters as some 45,000 troops have to be accommodated, much higher than the 10,000 stationed along the 826-km LAC in Ladakh in peacetime. Normally, patrolling is done as per fixed schedule while majority of troops are at fully furnished bases where heated accommodation with bunker-type beds exists.
With additional troops, habitat is being created on a war footing and “arctic” tents are being provided. Sources said the review was done to assess what all was needed.
The cold desert of Ladakh has military deployments at an altitude of 13,000 feet. In summer months, ample water flows in rivers, including Indus, Shyok, Galwan, Chang Chenmo and Chip-Chap. Barring Indus, all of them freeze in winter.
The night temperature is already touching minus 5 degrees and will plunge up to minus 20 in some days.