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Army builds extreme weather habitats for troops in Ladakh

As India and China continue deliberations on a proposed disengagement and de-escalation plan to end the stand-off in eastern Ladakh, the Army has completed building extreme weather habitats for thousands of additional troops to remain deployed through the harsh winter.

“In order to ensure the operational efficiency of the troops deployed in winters, the Army has completed the establishment of habitat facilities for all the troops deployed in the sector. 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,” an Army source said on Wednesday.

Heated tents

The troops on the front line were accommodated in heated tents as per tactical considerations of their deployment, the source said. The construction was completed by mid-October. Adequate civil infrastructure has also been identified to cater to any emergency requirements, the source added.

The altitude in Ladakh where troops are deployed ranges from 14,000 feet to 18,000 feet and the area experiences up to 40 feet of snowfall from December onwards. Coupled with the wind chill factor, the temperature dips to minus 40 degrees Celsius, disrupting road access to the area for some time.

The Army has deployed thousands of additional troops and equipment in eastern Ladakh and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since the stand-off began in early May.

The Army recently procured 15,000 extreme weather clothing from the U.S. under the bilateral logistics pact, Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding, for the additional troops in Ladakh. “The order was placed in early July and the deliveries have been completed. Additional reserves have also been catered to and supply orders as required have been placed,” another source said.

‘No shortage’

Last week, Army chief General Manoj Naravane said “there was no shortage whatsoever of any kind” with respect to extreme weather clothing and equipment for the troops. The equipment normally catered to a certain number of troops at any point of time. They “had to go in for certain emergency procurements” for the additional troops.

Gen. Naravane said that over the years they have been going in for indigenous supplies, and out of the extreme weather clothing and equipment, of some 10 to 12 items, six were done by local suppliers and the contracts for another four were also being done by Indian suppliers. The Army did annual advanced winter stocking of rations and supplies during the summer months for the winter period from November to May.