It has now been around seven months since the India’sborder standoff with China started. Around 50,000 Indian soldiers are deployed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in harsh winters and at heights more than 14,000 feet. It doesn’t seem like that India will back off soon until the border issue gets resolved and this has pushed the China to purchase high-altitude gear and clothing at the last moment.
Chinese would have thought that Indian troops can’t continue to occupy their positions because in the winters, the temperature of the region dips very low. The temperature has already been to minus 20 degrees. So, the Chinese army was unaware and brought in additional logistics only last month to match the Indian deployment.
An official said that the temperature and wind chill factor have begun to be a challenge for the troops. The temperature is expected to dip to 40-50 degrees below zero through the winter.
In the starting, the Chinese had bulk winter clothing meant for 9,000-10,000 feet heights but since no disengagement took place and the standoff continues to take place at heights more than 15,000 feet, China realised they need to be well-stocked for the conditions.
Another official said that the Chinese were probably not expecting Indian troops to continue occupy the contested points. Another official said that we maintained our position and intend to do so through the winter and this has surprised the PLA.
Sources told that the PLA Joint Logistics Support Force (JLSF) has organised a Quality Supervision Team for emergency procurement of clothing for extreme cold climate. This team has now been granted responsibility to ensure good quality clothing and fast delivery to forward area where PLA troops are deployed.
Back in October, India urgently purchased additional high-altitude winter clothing from the US for the enhanced troop deployment in Ladakh in peak winter amid the military tussle with China.
The winter kit which is provided to each soldier consists of three-layered clothing including special jackets and trousers with a glacier poncho worn to sustain them the wind chill factor. The essential gear also constitutes Goggles, gloves, snow boots with a thick woollen lining, face masks, woollen socks and caps which fully cover the head and ears.