China kills twenty Indian soldiers .... heading to the war!!! | Page 14 | World Defense

China kills twenty Indian soldiers .... heading to the war!!!

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India building Himalayan bridges and highways to match China

Reuters
September 29, 2020

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Labourers from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) work on a highway under construction in the Ladakh region, India, September 17, 2020.
(Reuters)


The road will provide the only year-round access to large parts of Ladakh, including the disputed border zone.

Ligen Eliyas deftly turns the excavator's hydraulic arm to push a huge boulder into the Zanskar river below in a cloud of dust, clearing another bit of land for a strategic highway that India is hurriedly building near the Chinese border.

The construction site near the hamlet of Chilling in the Ladakh region is around 250 km (150 miles) west of the area where Indian and Chinese troops are locked in the most serious confrontation in decades.

But when ready, the road will provide the only year-round access to large parts of Ladakh, in India's north, including the border zone. That will go some way to bringing India on par with China, which has a network of roads and helipads on its side of the border.

"It will become a lot easier for the army after this road is finished," Eliyas said, with parts of his face and khaki uniform caked in fine stone dust.

The 30-year-old said he had been working at the site for eight months and has not yet been able to go to his home in southern Kerala state to see his baby, born in March.

The protracted standoff in the remote western Himalayan region erupted into a bloody hand-to-hand clash in June in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and China suffered an unspecified number of casualties. The Asian giants fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962.

The 283-km (175-mile)-long Nimmu-Padam-Darcha (NPD) highway, where Eliyas is working, is expected to be completed in three years, officials said. It highlights the efforts by India, which have been redoubled after the latest tensions, to develop key infrastructure - roads, tunnels, bridges and airfields - along the unsettled 3,500 km (2,170 mile) border with China.

The road will link up with an 8.8-km (5.5-mile) tunnel that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate in coming weeks, opening the snow deserts of Ladakh to the rest of the country all year round.

There are two main highways that connect Ladakh to the rest of India, but they are closed for at least four months every winter. The only way urgent supplies are sent to Ladakh during these months is by air.

With thousands of its troops amassed at the border and no sign of a drawdown, India is now pushing harder to blast and smash its way through the Himalayas.

"We will not back down from taking any big and tough step in the interest of our country," Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament this month, adding the government had doubled the budget for infrastructure work on the China border.

The frenetic construction itself has become a thorny issue this summer with the Chinese complaining that the Indian activity in the mountains was destabilising, Indian officials said. But China built its infrastructure in the area years ago, and it needs to be matched, they said.

"China does not recognise the so-called 'Ladakh Union Territory' illegally set up by India and is opposed to infrastructure building at the border area for the purpose of military control," the office of China's foreign ministry spokesperson said. It added that according to a recent consensus by both sides, no side should be taking any action that complicates the situation at the border area.

China's Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MATTER OF HOURS

China's network of roads and railways, logistics depots and helipads mean that it can move troops to forward areas in a matter of hours, said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, a distinguished fellow at New Delhi think-tank Observer Research Foundation.

For India, it would take days to match those deployments, she said.
"The infrastructure buildup by the Chinese is not only aiming at the quick deployment of forces but also to sustain them for a relatively longer period of time," Rajagopalan said.

Conceived in 1999, India's NPD project moved at a glacial pace till work picked up just a couple of years ago, said N.K. Jain, a commander in the state-run Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

Since then, the BRO has built some 100 km of the NPD project, and constructed 11 of the 15 major bridges on the route. "Our work is happening at double the speed in the last two years," Jain said.

New drilling machines that push dynamite sticks deeper and faster into hard rock to blow them apart have improved the speed of construction, said B. Kishen, a BRO executive engineer who is supervising the project near Chilling.

On a recent afternoon, dozens of workers cleared debris from a freshly blasted section of the road. A few kilometres away, another group crouched under an excavator as explosives went off to clear land for another section of the highway.

Work will continue through the bitter winter, when temperatures drop to below minus 40 Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit) and biting winds at altitudes above 11,000 feet (3,300 m) make road construction even more challenging, Kishen said.
The government has identified 73 strategically important roads along the Chinese border, of which 61 are with the BRO, running over 3,300 km (2,000 miles). A parliamentary committee report in March noted that 75 per cent of the work under BRO had been completed.

The full network of roads will cut down travel time between key Indian military bases, allowing for quicker mobilisation of troops and ease patrolling in some forward areas, an Indian official said.

"It will also lead to lower expenditure for the forces," the official said, with all-weather roads replacing the need for expensive airlift operations during the winter months.

"We will have a better chance of catching up with the Chinese."
 

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IAF Chief Amid Tensions With China: 'Our Fighters Capable of Shooting First, Striking Deep & Hard'​

©AFP 2020 / Dibyangshu SARKAR
by Rishikesh Kumar

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India and China have been amassing their military assets along the Ladakh border, while at the same time holding high-level talks to ease tensions in the region. Both sides have been accusing each other of violating peace and tranquillity by the crossing Line of Actual Control since April of this year.

Indian Air Force (IAF) chief RKS Bhadauria has emphasised that the nation's forces are very "well positioned" to deal with any threat, and very strong deployments have been made in all relevant areas considering the security scenario along the northern border.

Addressing a press conference ahead of Air Force Day on 8 October, Bhadauria said Chinese air power can't get the better of India's capabilities and "Our fighters are capable of shooting first, striking deep, and hard".
"Strength areas for the PLA Air Force include surface-to-air systems, long-distance air launcher weapons. We are catering for all that in our matrix", Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said.
Bhadauria underlined that the IAF is "prepared to deal with a two-front war along the northern and western borders if such a scenario arises".

The IAF chief also responded to questions about China possibly using the Skardu airbase located in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
"If China needs to take Pakistan's help to confront us, I have nothing to say", Bhadauria added.

The statement comes against the backdrop of simmering border tensions between India and China despite several rounds of talks at military and diplomatic levels to de-escalate the situation. Clashes between the two parties broke out in late April in eastern Ladakh, culminating in mid-June when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in an altercation with Chinese troops.

The armies of the two countries are scheduled to hold a fresh round of talks on 12 October, with a specific agenda of firming up a roadmap for the disengagement of troops from the friction points.

Nevertheless, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria categorically ruled out possible assistance from the American military while dealing with China. "No one will fight our wars for us. We have to do it ourselves. Cannot count on anyone else", Bhadauria responded to a question by the media during the briefing in New Delhi.
 

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India in advanced talks with Russia to acquire Sprut light tanks for use in high altitude areas
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India is in advanced talks with Russia to acquire a newly developed light tank that could be useful in high altitude areas like the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Talks to buy the Sprut SDM1 light tanks were initiated late in July under a fast-track, government-to-government process, sources told ET.

The need for such tanks was felt after increased Indian deployments at the LAC following border hostilities with China, which has also fielded a range of equipment, including its Type 15 light tanks.
The new tanks are under trial in Russia, but sources said they could be inducted in India as well for a series of rigorous field tests before the deal is finalised. India could acquire almost two dozen such tanks in the first tranche.

The procurement is likely to cost less than ?500 crore, which falls within the emergency financial powers given to service chiefs after the Galwan clash.

The expenditure is expected to be within the emergency financial powers given to the Army following the clash with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan valley in June. ET was the first to report in July that the government had given approvals for emergency procurement of lightweight tanks for deployment in high-altitude conditions, amid the ongoing border standoff with China. Final discussions on the contract are expected to conclude this year.

The Sprut SDM1 light tank, transportable by air, has commonalities with the T72 and T90s operated by India and would require minimal crew training to become operational. It is armed with a 125 mm gun, similar to the one on the T90, and fires all types of ammunition with the T72/90 fleet available with the Army.

India has a robust tank force, but all of them are heavy main battle tanks — T72s, T90s and the indigenously developed Arjun — considered more suitable for operations in the plains.

While these tanks have been sent to the Himalayan border as well, navigating them on difficult border terrain has been an issue.

The Sprut SDM1 is designed to be airdropped from an aircraft with its crew of three sitting inside the tank. India has operated light tanks in the past and it has come in handy during the 1947-48 Kashmir operations as well as the 1962 war with China, but these have been slowly phased out.

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