Amid no signs of an immediate troop withdrawal by China, India is all set to live in harsh conditions in Eastern Ladakh this winter, preparations for which have already been made. The Army has completed the establishment of habitat facilities for troops in the sector.
A video released by the military shows accommodation for troops with beds, cupboards and heaters. Some rooms have single beds, while a living room has bunk beds.
#WATCH Eastern Ladakh: In order to ensure operational efficiency of troops deployed in winters, Indian Army has completed establishment of habitat facilities for all troops deployed in the sector. pic.twitter.com/H6Sm5VG541
— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2020
The Army said apart from smart camps with integrated facilities that 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.
"Troops on the frontline are accommodated in heated tents as per tactical considerations of their deployment. In addition, adequate civil infrastructure has also been identified to cater for any emergent requirements," it said. The region sees temperature dipping to minus 30-40 degrees Celsius and experiences up to 40 feet of snowfall after the month of November. In addition, road access to the region also get affected for a brief period of time, it said.
"In order to ensure operational efficiency of troops deployed in winters, Indian Army has completed establishment of habitat facilities for all troops deployed in the sector," the Army said. India and China are locked in a military standoff since early May in eastern Ladakh.
News18 had earlier reported that the Army is procuring Russian tents to tackle the winter conditions. A source said the ordinance factory in Kanpur has been approached to procure these tents. China has constructed semi-permanent structures at Pangong and at other friction points of LAC. Officials explained that the lockdown meant some of the contractors who could have helped Indian army build pre-fabricated structures to house troops, were not available. The Russian tents which can withstand Siberia-like cold has been arrived at as the quickest and most effective alternative.
ITBP jawans, who understand the weather and living conditions better because of long deployment, have also decided to rely on 'shakkarpara' as the super food. 'Shakkarpara' is a north Indian snack where wheat flour dough is deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup.
"The wheat in it is filling, the sugar gives you energy. It is easy to make and carry," a deployed jawan explained on this unusual choice. The troop headquarters in Delhi also confirmed that batches of 'shakkarpara' were being prepared and sent to forward posts.
Water supply is the other bigger worry on the heights which Indian soldiers have occupied. In some forward posts, piped water from ground source has been arranged. Locals in Chushul have helped Indian army ferry water in some other locations.
(With inputs from PTI)