The Indian army has put an order for new fast patrol boats for the purpose of surveillance of water bodies in the mountains, including Pangong Tso, in eastern Ladakh. Indian army has continuously been in a standoff with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for eight months. This order is the first defence contract by the army. The order has been made to an Indian company Goa Shipyards Limited as a part of “atmanirbhar bharat” mission to cut its reliance on other nations.
Both the Indian army and the Chinese PLA use boats for patrolling the Pangong Lake. The army was in need of new boats.
Former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd) said that Chinese have superior boats than India for patrolling. There have been times when the PLA would operate the boats at high speeds, create big waves and push the lighter Indian patrol boats onto their side. China has control over two-thirds portion of the lake. In order to tackle the PLA, army needed more sophisticated and powerful boats, which are now ordered.
Last year, the Indian Navy sent a dozen high-powered, bigger and top-of-the-line boats to Ladakh for the Indian army to patrol Pangong Tso and match the heavier Type 928 B vessels of the Chinese Army lake fleet.
Both the nations are engaged in a standoff for months. India has consistently demanded for disengagement at all conflicting points and restoration of status quo ante of early April during the ongoing military talks. The Chinese side has demanded that the Indian army first pull back its troops which are deployed on strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso.
Both the armies have held eight rounds of military talks so far with no mutually accepted decision. Ninth round of dialogue between corps commander-ranked officers are also expected to take place soon.
On August 29, The Indian Army occupied a series of strategically important heights to prevent the PLA from occupying Indian territory on the southern bank.
The Indian Army controls key heights overlooking the PLA’s deployments on the Finger 4 ridgeline on the northern bank of Pangong Tso where PLA troops are deployed hardly a few hundred metres from each other.