India is loading up supplies in Ladakh fearing the worst as the Chinese army drags its feet on its way back

India is loading up supplies in Ladakh fearing the worst as the Chinese army drags its feet on its way back
The Pangong Tso lake situated in the Himalayas 14,271 feet above sea level has been a hot spot in the standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)BCCL
  • The Indian Army is doubling its rations as it sets in for the winter along the India-China border in Eastern Ladakh.
  • The army is also considering rationing supplies to bring down the weight of the rations that have to be forward positions before November’s snowfall.
  • As disengagement progresses slowly between Chinese and Indian troops, the Indian Army believes its imperative for it to maintain its troop strength.
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The Indian Army is getting ready for the long haul as the disengagement with the People Liberation Army (PLA) continues at snail’s pace. The Indian side has reportedly doubled its call for rations, which include clothing, shelter, tents, fuel and other tools required to face the harsh temperatures in the Himalayan region.

In order to try and speed up the process of disengagement on the border, senior diplomats from India and China are reportedly scheduled to hold a fresh meeting on July 24, Friday. Sources told LiveMint that Chinese troops are yet to move back from Patrolling Point 17 (PP-17) and Finer 4 along the Pangong Tso Lake.

Stocking up for winter
The annual ‘advance winter stocking’ (AWS) exercise is underway but has more challenges to face than normal, officers told The Times of India. In addition to the uncertainty on the border, there are also more mouths to feed, the challenge of procuring the rations during COVID-19 and making sure that it all gets done before snowfall in November.

After the violent clash between both sides on June 15, the Indian Army estimates that it needs to maintain its troops in the forward areas to ensure that Chinese Army doesn’t exploit the situation.

Rationing supplies on the cards
Just bringing in excess supplies may not be enough to manage the increased number of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Indian Army is also looking over the ‘scale of rations’ that can be given out to soldiers.

The usual amount allocated to each soldier is around 2.5 kilograms of ration per day. However, officials told The Times of India that if you cut the ‘frills’ out of the equation, the weight of the rations can be brought down to just 1.5 kilograms.

Running short on time
Another cause of concern is that even though there are more mouths to feed, the amount of time to get rations in place is restricted.

The AWS exercise involves pre-positioning and stocking supplies in the forward locations before the snowfall sets in. Since most of the forward locations are over 15,000 feet in altitude, they will largely become inaccessible starting November.

Normally, the Indian Army has around 150 days between the months to June to September to set up. This time around, due to the tensions with China along the border, the time has been cut short. The coronavirus pandemic has further complicated the acquisition of rations. Even before the advent of COVID-19, procuring special dehydrated rations in huge quantities was a challenge.

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