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India airlifted massive arms, troops to eastern Ladakh in the 2020 Galwan Valley clashes aftermath

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(, Aug14’23) – Ahead of the 19th Corps Commander-level talks between the armed forces of India and China that began at the Chushul border meeting point in Eastern Ladakh on Aug 14, it has been revealed that India had rushed troops and arms on a war footing in the immediate aftermath of the Jun 15, 2020 night raid on its forces by their Chinese counterpart in the region.

Before the May 15, 2020 night clash, the eastern Ladakh border standoff had erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake area.

Over 68,000 Army soldiers, around 90 tanks and other weapon systems were airlifted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to eastern Ladakh from across the country for rapid deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) after the deadly clashes in the Galwan Valley, reported the PTI news agency Aug 13, citing top sources in defence and security establishment.

Other deployments were stated to include nearly 330 BMPs (infantry combat vehicles), radar systems, artillery guns and numerous other types of equipment.

The total load carried by the transport fleet of the IAF, which included C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft, was 9,000 tonnes and displayed the IAF’s increasing strategic airlift capabilities, they were stated to have added.

Besides, the IAF deployed its Su-30 MKI and Jaguar jets in the region for round-the-clock surveillance and intelligence gathering on the enemy build-up, apart from putting several squadrons of combat aircraft in “offensive posturing” in the wake of the Galwan Valley clashes that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades, they were cited as saying.

A plethora of other fighter jets, including Rafale and Mig-29 aircraft, were deployed for combat air patrol while various helicopters of the IAF were stated to have been pressed into service for the transport of prefabricated structures, ammunition and spares of military equipment to mountainous bases.

The troops and weapons were ferried by the transport fleet of the IAF within a “very short period of time” for quick deployment in various inhospitable areas along the LAC under a special operation, the sources have said while highlighting how the force’s strategic airlift capability had increased over the years.

In view of the escalating tensions, the IAF was also stated to have deployed a sizeable number of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) in the region to keep a hawk-eye vigil on Chinese activities.

The IAF also quickly enhanced its air defence capabilities and combat readiness by installing various radars and bringing a range of surface-to-air guided weapons to frontline bases along the LAC in the region, they have said.

The strategy was stated to be to strengthen military posture, maintain credible forces and monitor the enemy build-up to effectively deal with any situation.

The Indian and Chinese troops are still locked in the over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the region as a fresh round of high-level military talks between the two sides takes place on Aug 14.

India is to press for early disengagement of troops from the remaining friction points during the ongoing talks.


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