Defense Infrastructure Being Built In Ladakh As A Standoff With China Continues
- According to the officials, the army requested bids from local manufacturers on Tuesday for 180 canister-launched anti-armour loiter systems and integrated drone detection and interdiction systems.
- The army announced last week that it would build modular, 3D-printed next-generation bunkers to better protect the soldiers on the front lines manning the nation's border with China.
After the standoff started two and a half years ago, India injected thousands of additional troops and cutting-edge military equipment into the Ladakh sector to confront the Chinese military build-up.
According to officials with direct knowledge of the development, the Indian Army is constructing infrastructure in eastern Ladakh quickly with a focus on better living conditions and improved facilities for soldiers, preservation of modern weapons and equipment deployed there, and supporting faster movement of men and material to deal with any contingency in the midst of the ongoing border standoff with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the sensitive sector.
After the standoff started two and a half years ago, India injected thousands of additional troops and cutting-edge military equipment into the Ladakh sector to confront the Chinese military build-up. One of the officials listed above, who requested anonymity, claimed that the changing dynamics along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) required the infrastructure push intended to improve the effectiveness of the army’s deployments.
The army has implemented a number of measures to support its forward deployments along the LAC, including the construction of modular shelters for troops deployed at heights of up to 18,000 feet, housing for reserve troops in rear locations, storage facilities for tanks, artillery guns, and other equipment, underground facilities for ammunition storage, airfields, and new roads, bridges, and tunnels in challenging terrain for improved connectivity with forward areas.
In order to supply troops with drinking water, the army has also constructed ponds in high-altitude parts of Ladakh.
According to a second official, infrastructure is being built not only in Ladakh but also in the eastern (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh) and central (Uttarakhand) sectors to support the army’s needs and strengthen its ability to handle new challenges.
The encouragement for infrastructural development along the LAC is quite encouraging. According to former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda, “at the altitudes at which the LAC lies, the quality of infrastructure will be a key factor in both peacetime border management and war.”
Undoubtedly, since the stalemate started in May 2020, the PLA has considerably upgraded the defence infrastructure throughout the LAC region.
The Indian Army is focusing on building infrastructure at the same time that it is making a concerted effort to improve its military capability with a variety of weapons and systems, such as artillery guns, swarm drone systems that can conduct offensive missions in enemy territory, longer-range rockets, remotely piloted aerial systems, and high-mobility protected vehicles. As previously reported, the army is also working to construct future infantry combat vehicles (FICVs) and light tanks for mountain warfare.
General Manoj Mukund Naravane, a former head of the army, claimed in January 2022 that the border issue had a silver lining in that it gave India the chance to expedite infrastructure construction, carry out doctrinal changes, and cover operational gaps with emergency purchases.
According to the officials, the army requested bids from local manufacturers on Tuesday for 180 canister-launched anti-armour loiter systems and integrated drone detection and interdiction systems.
The army announced last week that it would build modular, 3D-printed next-generation bunkers to better protect the soldiers on the front lines manning the nation’s border with China. These bunkers, which can resist a direct hit from a tank shell, will be built along the LAC in Ladakh starting in the next year.
Additionally encouraging, according to Hooda, is the use of cutting-edge construction methods like 3D printing and pre-engineered structures to build defences and habitations. It will, at the very least, cut the construction time in half, he continued. While the army will build hundreds of these bunkers in Ladakh, the number will gradually rise from the roughly 20 3D-printed bunkers that have already been created.
The Indian and Chinese forces still each have more over 60,000 soldiers posted in the Ladakh theatre, after four rounds of disengagement from Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Gogra (PP-17A), and Hot Springs (PP-15). Despite 16 rounds of negotiations between the Indian and Chinese military, the issues at Depsang in the Demchok sector and Charding Nullah Junction (CNJ) in the Daulet Beg Oldi sector remain unresolved.