Army wants to buy more special clothing, equipment for Ladakh troops as LAC stand-off continues

By The Print

Amid the continuing stalemate with China at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh and an increased deployment of troops in several extreme high altitude areas, the Army is looking at raising procurement of special clothing and mountaineering equipment.

In a list released Thursday, the Army projected figures of higher procurement of 17 types of special clothing and mountaineering equipment. According to defence sources, the Army will give priority to Indian manufacturers, who make the said equipment, in the spirit of the Make of India initiative.

Currently, most of these items are imported from other countries.

However, with the “second positive indigenisation list” of 108 items notified by the Ministry of Defence last month, special clothing and mountaineering equipment will have to be procured from indigenous sources starting January 2023, according to provisions given in the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.

According to the latest list, the Army has projected an annual requirement of 50,000 to 90,000 sets of Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System and a similar number of special sleeping bags, rucksacks, summer suit for super high altitude area, multipurpose boots and snow goggles.

Additional requirements include about 12,000 special woollen socks, about three lakh sets of two- and three-layer gloves, about 500 High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO) chambers, which is a mandatory requirement for providing emergency treatment to soldiers deployed in extreme cold and high altitude areas.

Along with this, the Army has projected an annual requirement of 3,000 to 5,000 avalanche airbags and a similar number of avalanche victim detectors.

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