Despite several rounds of meeting, India and China have not been able to defuse border tensions in the Ladakh region and it is unlikely that Chinese PLA soldiers will pull-out from the positions they are holding.
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The Indian Army has started preparing itself to be stationed along the Line of Actual Control during the harsh winters as New Delhi fears further transgression by China and a possible repeat of Siachen conflict that erupted between India and Pakistan in 1984.
HindustanTimes citing Indian government officials claims the Indian Army has asked its defence attaches posted in embassies in the US, Russia and Europe to explore warm clothes and snow tent manufacturers in case there is a need for emergency buying due to ongoing India-China conflict.
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During the Operation Meghdoot in Siachen in 1984, the Indian Army kept a close watch on suppliers of Arctic gear in Europe, leading to a discovery that the Pakistanis had ordered 150 sets from a dealer in the UK. India also acquired the Arctic gear and launched a full-fledged operation in the summer of 1984 to pre-empt the Pakistanis and take full control of the Siachen Glacier.
The HT report says that the Indian Army is clear that they will have to defend critical points along the LAC in specific areas to prevent any Chinese PLA hostility next year. “After the PLA aggression, we don’t trust the Chinese and fear that they will come back again north of Pangong Tso as summer arrives in 2021,” said a military commander.
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Although the Chinese soldiers have disengaged from patrolling points 14 (Galwan), 15-16 (Hot Springs), the PLA soldiers are still on forward location at patrolling point 17 A (Gogra) and withdrawal from all disputed finger features is a distance away at the Pangong Tso.
With the harsh and arid climate of Ladakh, not much snow is anticipated in the general area of patrolling points 15, 16 or 17, but at Chang La which is over 17,000 feet, gets draped in snow and lies en route to Pangong Tso.
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To cater for winter clothing needs, we have not only placed orders with domestic suppliers but also directed soldiers other than those stationed on Saltoro ridge and Siachen glacier to give up extreme snow clothing, HT quoted a commander saying.