India-China: The Indian Army is getting ready to dig in for the winter in eastern Ladakh (File)
In its biggest military logistics operation in decades, the Indian Army has rushed tanks, heavy weaponry, ammunition, fuel, food and essential winter supplies to high-altitude areas in eastern Ladakh to maintain its combat readiness through the treacherous winter of around four months, military sources said on Sunday.
They said Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane, aided by a group of top commanders, has been personally involved in planning and overseeing the implementation of the mammoth exercise that began in mid-July and is nearing completion.
A significant number of T-90 and T-72 tanks, artillery guns and infantry combat vehicles were flown into various sensitive areas including Chushul and Demchock sectors as part of the logistics operation, the sources said.
Under the operation, the Army transported large quantities of clothes, tents, food items, communication equipment, fuel, heaters and other supplies to army personnel deployed at forward posts and mountain passes at the height of over 16,000 feet.
"By far it is the biggest logistics operation that has been implemented in Ladakh post-Independence. Its scale is humongous," a senior military official said.
To deal with any Chinese misadventure, India has deployed over three additional Army divisions in eastern Ladakh where the temperature fluctuates between minus five to minus 25 degree Celsius from October to January.
The sources said India imported winter clothing and gear from a couple of countries in Europe and they have already been supplied to the troops in eastern Ladakh.
Almost all transport aircraft and helicopters of the Indian Air Force including C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster were used to transport thousands of tonnes of food, fuel and other equipment to the region.
The Indian Army has decided to maintain its current strength of troops in all key areas in eastern Ladakh in the winter months as there was no sign of early resolution of the border row with China.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also decided to remain on high alert in the forward air bases along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The Indian and Chinese armies held the sixth round of Corps Commander talks on September 21 in the backdrop of deteriorating situation in the Chushul sector following three incidents of shots being fired in the air by the Chinese military since the intervening night of August 29 and 30.