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Winter arrives in Ladakh, stretchers pile up at standoff zone

Aryan0395

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Winter arrives in Ladakh, stretchers pile up at standoff zone
While the standoff along the LAC in eastern Ladakh is not showing signs of simmering down, the unforgiving winter weather has started to take its toll on the troops.

Shiv Aroor New DelhiSeptember 18, 2020UPDATED: September 18, 2020 17:17 IST


Indian Army soldiers in Siachen (File photo from PTI)

Over the last month, you have heard a constant claim from experts and veterans of how the upcoming winter could hold answers to the continuing India-China military standoff in Ladakh. You have seen images of Indian and Chinese soldiers kitting up for the forbidding inbound winter months at very high altitudes. That the two sides are preparing for a long harsh winter.
Well, there's no more waiting to do. That winter has arrived.
In the Pangong sector, where the situation has been particularly tense since August 29, the edges of the Pangong lake have begun to freeze this week. Temperatures at the heights held by Indian and Chinese troops at Finger 4, for instance, dip to minus 4 degrees. By mid-October, the lake surface will be totally frozen. In the Depsang and Daulat Beg Oldie areas of Ladakh's sub-sector north (SSN), for instance, minimum temperatures are already hovering around minus 14 degrees and will dip rapidly with each passing day.
While troops from both sides have fired warning shots into the air as many as four times between August 29 and September 8, the unforgiving weather has already begun to take its toll.
In the last four days, Indian positions have witnessed a daily stream of Chinese combat medics evacuate small numbers of PLA troops from high altitude posts in the Fingers area on stretchers, a morbid reminder of the effects of rarefied air and extreme freezing conditions even during the day.
These conditions will get significantly worse with each passing day. The evacuated troops have been regularly replaced to maintain numbers at these forward posts, some of which are less than a kilometre from Indian positions.
Military sources say Chinese troops evacuated from the Finger 4 area are being taken into a field hospital near Finger 6 for interim treatment. As part of the mobilisation on both sides, field hospitals have also sprung up on both sides in the Depsang sector, where tensions have brewed even as the spotlight remained fixed on the Pangong area.
Indian and Chinese forward posts are keeping a hawk's eyes on the effects of weather on each other's troops -- an ironic situation given that in years past, there have been occasions when troops from each side have received medical treatment from the other when logistically feasible or when patrols have crossed. In the current atmosphere of distrust and hostility, such humanity is virtually unthinkable at the front.
To be sure, it is not as if Indian soldiers aren't vulnerable to high altitude conditions. Like the Chinese posts, Indian posts all have embedded combat medics with specialised medical equipment and stretchers in the event that troops get afflicted by unwelcome winter visitors like frostbite, chilblains and the dangerous high-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPO).
While there is no ruling out Indian troops falling prey this winter to the unforgiving conditions in the standoff zone, it is also true that Indian Army troops have had longer and deeper experience at far higher altitudes than those at Pangong Tso.
The Indian Army remains deployed year-round in peacetime in the super-high altitude and super-harsh climes of the Siachen glacier and Saltoro ridge. While the Pangong heights place troops at altitudes of 16,000 feet, posts at Siachen touch a staggering 22,000 feet. For perspective, Mount Everest is 29,000 feet high. Decades at those heights have brought hard-fought Indian Army experience with some of the most painful afflictions caused by those conditions.
HAPO, for instance, is an old adversary of Indian troops in Siachen, one that has spawned the oft-repeated refrain, 'Where the weather is the soldier's biggest enemy'. And with good reason too. Since Operation Meghdoot to dominate the Siachen heights in 1984, the Indian Army has waged a daily battle to manage the toll of HAPO, a condition that involves painful fluid accumulation in the lungs at high altitude, with tell-tale signs involving frothing at the mouth and voluble gasping for breath.
It has taken years of fatalities, research, preparations, equipment and daily vigilance to tame the effects of HAPO. And while far less than in previous years, it remains a lingering presence.
Chilblains is another painful condition caused by tissue damage from exposure to cold and humidity, one that debilitates soldiers and often requires their removal from their posts and transfers to lower altitudes for treatment.

 

Aryan0395

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China was giving constant warning to Indians about how they wont be able to sustain the winter and members here were cheering for that ignoring that Indians actually control the highest battlefield on earth.
Not saying that Indian troops won't face problems, but they won't be nowhere near as big as PLA's.
China is in for a rude awakening about winter in Ladakh.
 

manga

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In the last four days, Indian positions have witnessed a daily stream of Chinese combat medics evacuate small numbers of PLA troops from high altitude posts in the Fingers area on stretchers, a morbid reminder of the effects of rarefied air and extreme freezing conditions even during the day.
:rofl:
 

khail007

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Indians could witness anything in their dreams which could reduce their frustration and miseries. Other countries have no ability/technology that could block the power of 'witnessing thru dreams' of Indians which they posses resulting from their humiliating failure/defeat from Feb-2019 thru hands of PAF to date as hundreds of KM lost to PLA without firing of single bullet in the region.
 

Rafi

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Obviously we have much experience in high altitude warfare, and we helped and will continue to help our friends keep them dirty indians on their toes.
 

Areesh

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17 out of 20 Indians deaths in Galwan valley were because Indians couldn't rescue those guys from freezing waters of Galwan River

And these guys are witnessing Chinese getting evacuated from their posts

Instead of watching Chinese why not save your own guys from freezing to death clowns?
 

Ali_Baba

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China was giving constant warning to Indians about how they wont be able to sustain the winter and members here were cheering for that ignoring that Indians actually control the highest battlefield on earth.
Not saying that Indian troops won't face problems, but they won't be nowhere near as big as PLA's.
China is in for a rude awakening about winter in Ladakh.
What a silly comment to make on a bullshit fake news Indian article!!!!
 
Apr 22, 2019
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Cold winter only impacts Chinese people and not Indian people.

China is not capable of sending humans to the freezing depths of space and keeping them alive there like India can. Indians are obviously technologically and scientifically more advanced than Chinese people.
 

Trango Towers

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China was giving constant warning to Indians about how they wont be able to sustain the winter and members here were cheering for that ignoring that Indians actually control the highest battlefield on earth.
Not saying that Indian troops won't face problems, but they won't be nowhere near as big as PLA's.
China is in for a rude awakening about winter in Ladakh.
Control....lol
 

hualushui

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2016
Ten soldiers died under snow after their camp in the northern part of the Siachen glacier was hit by a major avalanche

Seventy four Army personnel have died due to avalanches in the past three years.
In 2016, there were 18 Army casualties because of avalanches, while in 2017, the number of deaths were 30. There were six deaths in 2018, said Singh.

2019
Four soldiers and two porters have died after an avalanche struck on the Siachen glacier in Indian-administered Kashmir, an army official has said.
The eight-man patrol was close to 19,000 feet (5,800 metres) up in the Himalayas when the avalanche hit.
Rescue teams managed to pull all the men out and helicopters evacuated seven critically injured members of the group to a nearby military hospital.
Six of the men later died of hypothermia.
 

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