As the border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh shows no signs of immediate resolution, the Indian Army has created modern habitats with all required facilities for thousands of troops deployed in the high-altitude region which is under the grip of harsh winter, government sources said on Wednesday.
The habitats have been provided with proper heating facilities as the region receives up to 40 feet of snow after November every year while temperatures fall up to minus 40 degree Celsius in the winter months, they said. “In order to ensure operational efficiency of troops deployed in winters, the Indian Army has completed establishment of habitat facilities for all troops deployed in the sector,” said a source.
Nearly 50,000 troops of the Indian Army are currently deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero conditions as multiple rounds of talks between India and China have not yielded any concrete outcome to resolve the military standoff that erupted in early May. China has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to officials. “Apart from the smart camps with integrated facilities which have been built over the years, additional state of the art habitats with integrated arrangements for electricity, water, heating facilities, health and hygiene have been recently created to accommodate the troops,” the source said.
The frontline troops are being accommodated in heated tents as per tactical considerations of their deployment, sources said. In addition, adequate civil infrastructure has also been identified to cater to any emergent requirements, they added.
The armies of India and China have held eight rounds of Corps Commander-level talks so far but no breakthrough has been achieved yet to resolve the standoff. The last round of military talks was held on November 6 during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points.
A joint statement issued after the talks said both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and take forward the discussions for the settlement of outstanding issues. India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.
Following the sixth round of military talks, the two sides had announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters. The sixth round was held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on September 10 on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) conclave. The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).