The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are big time bullies. They run a reign of terror that intimidates China’s neighbours into giving up their territories under a Chinese strategy called salami-slicing. However, the Indian military knows how to put bullies in their place. It has been doing this for over seven decades since India’s independence.
Now, India is all set to freeze Chinese soldiers for a second straight winter in the extreme climate of Eastern Ladakh. The winters are particularly cold in Eastern Ladakh, with mercury dropping 20 or even 30 degrees below normal in some of the conflict-prone regions between India and China. However, Indian Army troops aren’t going to move even an inch in 2021, just like 2020, despite the extreme winter season.
IAF joins Indian Army against China:
Leave alone the question of the Indian Army stepping back, the Indian Air Force (IAF) too is backing the Army troops with all its might.
The IAF is reportedly making deployments in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, in a highly strategic manner. In the Eastern sector, the integrated infantry troops of the Indian military are ready to give it back to the Chinese, in case of any misadventure by the PLA.
Full year deployments in Eastern Ladakh could become a regular feature:
The Indian Army is brainstorming the issue of deployments in the extreme cold weather conditions in Eastern Ladakh, during its second four-day Commanders’ conference this year.
Eastern Ladakh is going through a transition similar to the one that Kargil went through in the aftermath of the 1999 war. Before 1999, troops from India and Pakistan used to withdraw to lower altitudes in extreme cold weather seasons. However, after 1999, troops are deployed in the region throughout the year.
Eastern Ladakh too, doesn’t witness round-the-year deployments on a traditional basis. However, the prolonged standoff in Eastern Ladakh that involved a violent face off in Galwan Valley (that claimed lives of 20 Indian soldiers and at least 35 Chinese troops) led to a full year deployment, last year. Now, such extreme weather deployments are likely to become a regular feature.
Full year deployments- a cause of misery for China:
The Chinese PLA is an inexperienced and unmotivated military force. Its troops predominantly hail from mainland China and have no prior acclimatization with the extreme cold weather of Eastern Ladakh.
Last year, an average of one PLA soldier was succumbing to sub zero temperatures in Eastern Ladakh’s high altitudes, during the month of November. As early as September 2020, the Indian Army had observed that some of the PLA troops were 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.
Harsh winter conditions forced China to rotate 90% of its troops deployed against India, for over a year. So, a large majority of Chinese troops are failing to acclimatize and see through the tough operating conditions in Eastern Ladakh. The PLA is already overstretched and now a tough winter awaits them as India toughens its position and shows no signs of backing off.