By N. C. Bipindra
New Delhi: India has mobilised around 15,000 army soldiers, along with battle tanks, artillery guns and air defence missile units, to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, to ward off any offensive action by China.
The mobilisation, the largest since the 2013 face-off at Daulat Beg Oldi in northern Ladakh region, comes as India’s answer to Chinese People’s Liberation Army‘s aggressive behaviour witnessed over the last 50 days in eastern Ladakh.
Fortunately for India, China has not mobilised enough troopers to carry out any further offensive action, for which the PLA would require at least 100,000 soldiers to run over Indian defences in eastern Ladakh.
“The sort of a heavy mobilisation for offensive action has not happened on the Chinese side and it seems they are mobilised only for nibbling at the LAC. That is the reading of the situation,” said a senior Indian Army officer with direct knowledge of the military situation in eastern Ladakh. He requested not to be named, as he is not authorised to speak on the matter with the media.
“There is no aggressive behaviour exhibited by the Chinese military units at present camped on their side of the LAC. The patrol parties of the PLA have moved back to their depth areas. The Indian and the Chinese side are maintaining the stand-off positions so that they do not come face-to-face and the disengagement continues without any irritants,” another senior Indian Army officer said. He too did not wish to be identified, citing the sensitivity of the current situation in Ladakh.
The second officer explained that the Indian side has mobilised around five brigades, comprising 15,000 soldiers. The mobilisation to the eastern Ladakh region include the foot soldiers, battle tanks, artillery guns and air defence guns, apart from support elements such as attack helicopters, including the newly inducted American defece major Boeing Co.-built Apache gunships.
“When brigades are mobilised, all of its elements such as the infantry, armoured, artillery, air defence, logistics and engineers move forward together, as they are all part of the fighting and support units,” the officer said.
The Indian Army‘s primary task now is to ensure a balance and parity with the Chinese troopers camping on their side of the LAC.
The Indian side, the two officers said, are waiting and watching the PLA units disengage along the LAC, though the process itself is too slow and could go on for months.
“The Indian Army is prepared for a long haul at the LAC in eastern Ladakh. The troopers are well acclimatised now and can stay put for months together. Only aspect of the mobilisation that needs focus and attention is the ability to reinforce the troopers’ numbers and reach the supplies, both arms and rations, to the forces deployed in the forward areas along the LAC.”
The officers also dismissed reports of Chinese re-erecting tents on the Indian side of the LAC after the June 22 talks between the Corps Commanders that took place at Moldo on the Chinese side and went on for nearly 12 hours before both sides positively agreed to disengage.
“The satellite images are deceptive and are not showing the true picture on the ground. No tents have been rebuilt by the Chinese on the Indian side of the LAC after these were removed by the Indian Army a long time back. The Galwan Valley violence was the last time there was a face-off between the two sides over temporary structures created by PLA,” one of the two officers, mentioned earlier, said.