It is a well-known fact that the People’s Liberation Army troops are grossly underprepared to survive the harsh winters at the Eastern LAC in Ladakh. India chose to bide its time and strike at the right time as the Indian Armed Forces have occupied almost all the important heights along the LAC just before the onset of the winter. The effects of winter are already taking a toll on the PLA troops as a section of Chinese soldiers are now being evacuated from the heights due to health complications arising from high altitude.
In the last 2-3 days, the Indian Army has observed that some of the PLA troops are being evacuated on stretchers from the heights of Finger 4 to a field medical facility ahead of Finger 6 due to health complications linked to high altitude.
The Finger Area, a set of eight cliffs overlooking the Pangong lake is in the eye of the storm and the recent development further underlines the challenge of high altitude warfare as Chinese soldiers begin to fall like nine pins.
This is where India has a strategic advantage over China. While China blindly deputises its soldiers at the LAC, Indian soldiers along the border have undergone necessary acclimatisation to be deployed at high altitudes.
There is no match for Indian troops who know the Himalayan ranges at the back of their hand with high altitude not being a problem for Indian forces. While the Eastern LAC in Ladakh remains a daunting location, it is pertinent to note that Indian soldiers have held positions at even higher heights on the Siachen glacier – the world’s highest battlefield.
While India has Ladakhi, Tibetan and other highlander soldiers in its infantry who have grown up in the region, China has no such thing as China is occupying Tibet and committing unspeakable atrocities in the region. Tibetans have the extra motivation to defeat the Chinese occupation and there’s no question of Tibetans joining the PLA troops.
Keeping the onset of harsh winter in mind, India has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to its troops along the Eastern LAC.
The Indian military has already moved more than 150,000 tonnes of materials into Ladakh which includes vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food.
Major General Arvind Kapoor, chief of staff of the Indian army’s 14 Corps was quoted as saying, “All the supplies that we need have already been pushed to wherever they are required.”
He added, “In a place like Ladakh, operations logistics is of huge importance. In the last 20 years, we have mastered it.” India has displayed tremendous proactiveness in preparing its troops to battle the PLA in the harsh winters keeping in mind the fact that mountain passes into Ladakh are blocked by snow for at least four months every winter.
Therefore, while the Indian troops are well acclimatised for the extremely cold and inhospitable Winters of Ladakh, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has become virtually defunct during the winter months. Moving troops, logistics and equipment is becoming a major issue after the summer months has come to end, and even if China will move them to forward locations, the PLA troops themselves will become ineffective.
The PLA troops have already started succumbing to inhospitable winter which is yet to hit its peak. At this rate, only Xi Jinping will be left to fight at the LAC, as it is clear that his soldiers aren’t prepared for the harsh winter.