India Conducts Military Exercise to Augment Winter Stocks for Troops Along China Border
13:28 GMT 17.11.2021 (Updated: 20:12 GMT 19.10.2022)
India and China have furnished their troops with military assets and improved logistics so they can remain on duty in forward posts of the Line of Actual Control during the harsh winter. China’s Global Times reported that the People’s Liberation Army has increased support systems for its troops as “small frictions may occur from time to time”.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army have carried out a joint airlift exercise, ‘Operation Hercules’ in forward areas of the western sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
This is where Indian troop deployment is equal to that of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
“The aim of this high intensity airlift was to strengthen the logistics supply in the northern sector and to augment winter stocks in the operational areas,” the Indian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry added that the aircraft used in the airlift included Boeing C-17 troop and cargo transporters, the four-engine strategic airlifter Ilyushin IL-76, and the Antonov An-32 for military transport, which took off from one of the forward bases of Western Air Command based in Leh.
“The effort was a real-time demonstration of the inherent heavy-lift capability of the Indian Air Force, which has played a major role in ensuring the ability to respond quickly to any contingency during the past,” the statement read.
29 October 2021, 12:12 GMT
In October, Indian army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said: "The military build-up by China
in the eastern Ladakh region and new infrastructure development to sustain the large-scale deployment are matters of concern.”
If the PLA continues its deployment, the General emphasised that India will maintain its presence across the sectors.
The army has already stockpiled vast amounts of fuel, rations, engineering and medical provisions, clothing, and climate-appropriate vehicles. It has also built several hundred camps
with adequate electricity, water, heating, and other facilities in eastern Ladakh.
On 9 November, China’s Global Times released a video displaying the deployment of logistics
in the forward areas to remain prepared for winter.
Although large-scale clashes are unlikely to occur in winter, the state media reported that “small frictions may happen from time to time”.
“This means that logistics is a key factor for border troops to overcome the winter, and in this area, China has big advantages over India,” a Chinese military observer noted.
The PLA has also equipped its frontline troops with portable oxygenators, oxygen chambers, and individual oxygen supply devices, China’s Defence Ministry said in the first week of November.
The Indian and Chinese armies clashed in June last year near the Galwan Valley resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and four PLA troops.
The two sides have held 13 rounds of talks to ease the tensions but have remained unsuccessful since June last year.