The global community is keenly watching India, China border dispute that has erupted in Ladakh. With India’s decorated snow warriors, Ladakh Scouts deployed against China, the intrusion efforts by Chinese PLA soldiers might get even harder, say experts talking to the EurAsian Times.
The two Asian superpowers India and China haven’t fired a single bullet at each other in decades, however, the ongoing border standoff between the armies of both the nations in Ladakh is viewed by many EurAsian Times defence experts as the calm before the storm.
While Chinese army has transgressed 3-5 kilometres into the Indian territory along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, it is reported that India has also moved additional troops to the Galwan valley and has deployed the Ladakh Scouts, a regiment of the Indian Army that is often termed as the world’s best soldiers for mountain warfare.
The Ladakh Scouts are considered to be the “eyes and ears” of the Indian Army serving the nation in the high-altitude region of the Indian UT, Ladakh that witnesses arctic weather conditions. Appropriately nicknamed as the “Snow Warriors” or “Snow Tigers”, the unit shields the disputed border region that often suffers from Chinese incursions.
The region of Ladakh that spreads over an area of 96,701 square kilometres has been open to intruders since the beginning of Indian independence. To protect the region, the ‘Nubra Guards’ were formed out of the local Ladakhi warriors as early as 1948, a year after India’s independence from the British rule.
As an Army regiment, the Ladakh Scouts are only about 20 years old since they were reformed as a standard infantry regiment only post the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan. However, they were formed back in 1963 by spinning off the 7th and 14th Battalions of the J&K troopers after the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
The principal role of the unit is reconnaissance and intercepting in the high-altitude frontier regions. Over 4000 in strength, the recruits are mainly from India’s Ladakhi and Tibetan communities that have historically guarded the region against intruders.
The Battle Tales of Ladakh Scouts
With highly trained five battalions and support personnel affiliated to other parts of the Indian army, the Ladakh Scouts have been deployed to combat in every major battle or operation, such as the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, and the Operation Meghdoot which led to the capture the Siachen Glacier in the Kashmir region in 1984.
In the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the Ladakh Scouts had launched a strategic attack in Turtok Sector which is about 205 km from Leh situated calmly on the banks of the Shyok River.
The Ladakh Scouts advanced deep into the enemy territory in just 14 days and liberating about 804 square kilometres of the area making a major achievement. They were also awarded the Battle Honour “Turtuk – 1971”. Today, the regiment proudly possesses over 600 gallantry awards including Ashok Chakras, Mahavir Chakras and Kirti Chakras.
The Exceptional Valour
“The Chief of Army Staff made a special instant award of “Unit Citation” to Ladakh Scouts for their exemplary and courageous actions during the battles of Point 5000 on night 05/06 July Dog Hill on night 30 June/01 July and Padma Go on night 09/10 July 1999, in Batalik Sector,” states the GlobalSecurity organisation.
In August 2017, Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind bestowed the President’s Colours to Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre and all five battalions of the regiment.
The President appreciated the Ladakh Scouts personnel for their outstanding performance on all fronts and their phenomenal valour and sacrifice while upholding the sovereignty of the nation in Ladakh region, particularly in the Siachen Glacier.