India’s pre-emptive move to occupy the dominant heights along the Eastern LAC has completely rattled China with the latter still struggling to respond to the proactiveness and the foresight shown by India. It took India almost a month to come up with a plan– from the drawing board to implementation– to outplay and outmanoeuvre China in its own game.
The operation to occupy the tactical heights took almost a month of careful planning, reports Indian Express. The operation had the political go-ahead from Delhi as the capital’s political circles have realised that China was never serious about disengagement.
Despite the agreement, China refused to pull back its troops from the Gogra Post and Hot Spring areas with the meeting on August 2 where China even refused to accept that it had violated Indian Territory on Pangong Tso’s north bank, proving to be the last straw for the Indian Army. Hence, a plan was hatched to occupy the tactical heights at the LAC and beat China in its own game.
Indian Express quoted a top source in the Army, who said that “plans are always ready for all steps, and are shared with very few people”. “Planning does not start when talks fail,” and “forces prepare multiple plans”. The source added, “When to get them into play is the question.”
Detailing the plan of the operation, the source said, “Two weeks before it happened, the seriousness about putting weight on this particular action started gaining. Then the ground commanders came here to give presentations.”
He added, “The top brass and field officers sat with the drawing board. Chinese vulnerabilities were worked out vis-à-vis our own strength. Locations of tactical advantage were discussed. Strategies to achieve them were worked upon. Each and every move, to the last detail, was mapped. And just before the operations, reconnaissance was carried out. It took close to a month to do all this, in complete secrecy. With some luck on our side, it was achieved without too much fuss.”
The operation seems to have been a strategic move to wait till the starting of September before making the real manoeuvres. Now, Ladakh will move into extreme winter from next month, and the heavy snowfall would make it incompatible for any military manoeuvres, either from India or China. India is making tactical moves just ahead of the extreme cold weather which would hit Ladakh, leaving no time for the unacclimatized PLA troops to confront Indian soldiers.
While the Indian troops are well-acclimatized for the extremely cold and inhospitable winters of Ladakh, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) becomes virtually defunct during the winter months. Moving troops, logistics and equipment becomes a major issue after the summer months come to end, and even if China moves them to forward locations, the PLA troops themselves become ineffective.
It is in this context that India has made some strategic moves in the Pangong Tso area in the week following the pre-emptive action taken by the Special Frontier Force (SFF), thwarting an attempt by China to intrude into the ‘Black top’ hill area (Southern Pangong Tso) on the intervening night of August 29-30.
The mercury can dip as low as -30 C during winter months in Ladakh, but, the additional troops of the Indian Army and high-altitude forces like the ITBP and the SFF have the capabilities to brave through the extreme cold to outsmart the Chinese PLA.